When it comes to video-enabled communication, there are two general types of tools you’ll have at your disposal: “synchronous” video conferencing and “asynchronous” video webcasting.

Most businesses already use a mix of these video tools to support an array of communications needs — although with a wide range of capabilities and often overlapping features, choosing the right video tool for any given exchange is not always cut and dried.

Understanding the differences between synchronous and asynchronous video communications tools will help your organization train, communicate, and share information more effectively. Below, we discuss the benefits of each type of video tool and explore how using both tools together can optimize communication and knowledge sharing within your company.

What Is Synchronous Video Communication?

Synchronous video conferencing refers to two-way video conferencing or communication that allows participants to interact with each other in real time online. Businesses and other organizations rely on this type of communication for remote meetings in which small groups of meeting participants converse and collaborate through audio, video, and screen sharing technologies. Video conferencing makes it possible to meet with someone in another room, another building, or another country as if there were sitting on the other side of the table.

Examples of Synchronous Video Communications:

Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype for Business (now part of Teams) and WebEx — commonly referred to as web conferencing software —  are examples of synchronous video communication tools that support real-time video conversations.   

Advantages of Synchronous Video Communications:

Synchronous video software is ideal for live, interactive meetings with a limited number of attendees.

Disadvantages of Synchronous Video Communications:

In order to allow for real-time exchange, synchronous video tools often come with a number of limits designed to preserve bandwidth, including caps on attendance, lower-quality video, or proprietary viewing software requirements.

What Is Asynchronous Video Communication?

Asynchronous video streaming enables participants to broadcast high-definition video in near-real-time to audiences of any size. Interactions are possible (especially via text-based chat and Q&A features), but with a slight delay of typically 20-30 seconds.

Examples of Asynchronous Video Communications:

Live streaming platforms like Panopto, and even Facebook Live or Periscope, can broadcast HD video to really big audiences with minimal disruptions from the audience.

Advantages of Asynchronous Video Communications:

For many businesses, there are a number of situations where a synchronous video tool will be less than ideal for communicating, and where an asynchronous video streaming tool will offer the best experience. A good example would be any activity with a large and regionally (or even globally) distributed audience all expected to tune in at the same time — broadcasting company events and executive communications are common applications for asynchronous video streaming.

With an asynchronous video tool, your live stream is generally broadcast securely via the web. This helps you reach more people and minimize “accidental interactivity” incidents that degrade the live stream, such as:

  • Attendees not on mute contributing background noise during the presentation
  • Hold music taking over the audio stream
  • Enter and exit notifications
  • Proprietary viewing software confusing or blocking viewers from joining the meeting

Disadvantages of Synchronous Video Communications:

Designed more for presentation than conversation, asynchronous video is a poor option for streaming any event where 1:1 interaction and discussion between remote parties is essential.

Related Reading: Video Conferencing Tools vs. Video Platforms — What’s The Difference?


Watch a Previously Recorded QBR Live Stream Captured With Panopto

When Stand-Alone Video Conferencing Tools Don’t Go Far Enough

Synchronous video communications tools are really built for one task — video conferencing — they do not make archiving live meetings easy, a practice that can have a big impact on knowledge sharing and communication within an organization.

An enterprise video platform or “Corporate YouTube” not only lets organizations broadcast privately to live audiences, but also allows team members to record, store, share, and view videos of company meetings — keeping sensitive company information secure. Imagine a world in which no one had to take notes during a meeting, because business meetings could be searched and viewed at any time, from anywhere.

For most businesses, an all-in-one enterprise video platform is essential for knowledge management (KM) and knowledge sharing.  Learning & Development and HR professionals find that enterprise video platforms offer invaluable features for archiving, searching, and viewing recorded meetings that video conferencing tools simply do not. Synchronous web conferencing tools can sometimes be “hacked” to record meetings for knowledge sharing, but they lack the essential video content management component that makes the information shared with those tools easily findable and accessible by others later, on-demand.

Maximizing Communication and Knowledge Sharing With The Right Mix Of Video Communications Software

Synchronous video software supports real-time communications at nearly all businesses, but for enterprise businesses, these tools often don’t go far enough to meet the communication needs that keep them competitive.

There are distinct benefits — beyond a better live streaming experience — to companies that adopt both synchronous web conferencing technology and secure, asynchronous video streaming technology, which include the following:

  • Capture knowledge from subject matter experts in a fraction of the time it takes to document knowledge in writing
  • Upload and share knowledge in video format to your corporate YouTube or video CMS
  • Support on-demand social learning with advanced search features within a central video content library
  • Document product features, compliance training and more


Businesses Are Using Video For More Than Video Conferencing

Video Is More Than Video Conferencing As video continues to grow in importance across every department at most organizations, now is the time to heed Forrester’s advice to “plan for video content, not just video conferencing.

To learn more, including the latest recommendations from industry analysts at Gartner and Forrester, as well as the best practices now in place at forward-looking organizations like Siemens, Microsoft, and the New York Stock Exchange, download your free edition of our white paper, Video is More than Video Conferencing, today.