Video conferencing, web conferencing, unified communications — what were once distinct toolsets have in the past half-decade seen the lines that separate them blur in a sea of collaboration solutions.

Traditionally, “video conferencing” implied a physical, often conference room-based video system using specialized technology that focused on face-to-face interaction. “Web conferencing,” meanwhile, referred to a less formal, desktop-and-webcam system that prioritized sharing on-screen content for presentations and webinars, with the presenter’s webcam video as an optional supporting element.

Today, however, as many web conferencing tools offer two-way video and video conferencing tools add the ability to share content and present, the applications have become more similar and the nomenclature more interchangeable. Now whatever your tool, the resulting output is typically a video-based, real-time two-way interaction, emphasizing near-zero audio and video delay in order to allow for a conversation.

What Does A Video Conferencing Solution Do?

While the features vary and the technical aspects of each are different, the value delivered in a Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, or a meeting in the Cisco- or Polycom-equipped conference room is consistent — an instant audio, video, and screen-sharing connection with anyone located remotely.

Fundamentally the value these tools offer is what the industry calls “synchronous communication,” or more simply, two or more connected video feeds that each update so quickly they can allow for real-time conversation between them. This makes video conferencing technology perfect for live, interactive meetings.

Video conferencing technology makes it possible to meet with someone in another room, another building, or another country as if they were sitting on the other side of the table. And while it was the first application many organizations found for video, it’s now proving to be a gateway to using the technology for even greater ROI — which is where video platforms come in.

Whereas the conferencing tools are built for one task, video platforms have evolved as multipurpose video technologies.

Modern enterprise video platforms are intended to support on-demand video communications from end to end — recording, sharing, searching, managing, and more — enabling organizations to do new things with video as well as get more value out of existing video solutions.

What Does A Video Platform Do?

As with video conferencing, the specific sets of features and capabilities for each video platform will be different. At their most basic, however, most video platform solutions will enable the following:

  • The ability to record multi-camera video with greater flexibility to support more and more varied types of content, and without all the on-screen clutter and additional workflow required by video conferencing systems
  • The ability to upload, store, and centrally manage all of your organization’s video assets, in a secure library integrated with your identity management system
  • The ability to convert almost any type of video into other formats so that it may be easily shared, streamed, and viewed with almost any web browser or mobile device
  • The ability to allow users to search across all the videos in your library and find any and all relevant content inside your videos
  • The ability to provide video usage analytics data and statistics

Along with these core features, you’ll find several others available depending on the solution. Some video platforms also offer live streaming features that enable you to broadcast live video. Others offer enhanced video experiences for mobile devices, with native apps and mobile-aware player design and video streaming.

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Related Reading: Comparing the Best Video Platforms of 2020

 

Unlike video conferencing solutions, which are built for synchronous, two-way communication, video platforms are built for what the industry calls “asynchronous communication.”  This simply means that video platforms can be used to stream video one-way to massive audiences, either live or on-demand.  Fundamentally, these technologies are built for different communication scenarios — video conferencing tools excel at conversations among small groups, while video platforms excel at presentations to large audiences and on-demand streaming.

Video Conferencing and Video Platforms — A Perfect Complement

While conferencing solutions and video platforms each offer their own subset of features and benefits, the technologies really begin to shine — and the use cases begin to multiply — when you leverage the two together.

Where conference tools are weak — for example, in securely sharing video for on-demand viewing, or managing and searching video content — modern video platforms offer the ability to record video from virtually any device, offer a centralized video library for efficient storage, automatically transcode recordings for on-demand playback on any device, and transcribe the video content so it can be searched for and found by your team at a later date.

Likewise, where video conferencing tools are strong, video platforms can further help them flex their muscle. Modern video platforms can enable organizations to scale meetings held via video conference to thousands or tens of thousands of viewers — without unintended interruptions from un-muted lines, sign-on and sign-off notifications, or accidental hold music suddenly drowning out the presenter. And because they make it easy to capture and store videos, video platforms can make it possible to record video conferences at scale and save them for future reference in a central, searchable library.

A video platform provides your organization with the tools needed to drive more value out of your investment in video communications.

Related Reading: Sorry, Your Video Conferencing Software Can’t Do It All

 

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Published: January 06, 2020