Once a staple of science fiction, near-instantaneous global communication isn’t just a reality, it’s an everyday fact for people all over the globe. Businesses, organizations, families, and many others are using online technologies to have face-to-face conversations even though they’re hundreds or thousands of miles apart. While there are plenty of different global face-to-face communication technologies available, a few specific services stand out.
Benefits of Global Communication
When it’s easy to communicate with distant offices, businesses operate more quickly and efficiently. They have the ability to reach new markets without expending too much time and effort. Since webcams, headsets, and other kinds of communications technology are inexpensive, even very small businesses and organizations can have long distance face-to-face conversations.
The same technology helps aid education. Children and adults can easily learn about other cultures. Instead of consulting a textbook written by a third party, they can talk directly with people in other countries. This kind of communication helps break down cultural barriers and changes mentalities. It also helps provide educational options to people who wouldn’t normally have access to them.
Major Communications Technologies
There are many options for face-to-face global communication, including free and open source programs, proprietary commercial software, and programs that offer both free and paid versions. Several technologies have become more popular in the global market.
- Skype – This voice-over-Internet-Protocol, or VOIP, service is currently owned by Microsoft. It allows people to communicate by instant message, voice, and video. Users can also make phone calls to traditional telephones. As of 2010, Skype accounted for about 20 percent of all traffic and offered both free and paid services including HD resolutions.
- OoVoo – OoVoo is a proprietary messaging client owned by Microsoft and developed by OoVoo LLC. It offers real time video and voice chat, as well as free instant messaging. Free users can speak to up to six people at once. Paid users can add another six participants. OoVoo offers high resolution video and accounts for about 45 million users.
- Apple FaceTime – Apple’s answer to demand for video conferencing technology, FaceTime offers video calling for Macintosh computers and Apple mobile devices. The app costs $0.99 from the Mac App Store and provides video resolutions of up to 720p.
- Cisco TelePresence Ex60 – This higher-end video teleconference solution is geared towards business users. It provides 1080p and 720p resolutions as well as a touch screen interface. Unlike other global communication technologies, it includes special hardware instead of requiring the user to provide video and audio devices. While TelePresence is more costly than many other solutions, it offers higher-quality features and is suitable for heavy use.
Global communication technologies are changing the way people all over the world run their businesses and handle personal conversations. Simple, inexpensive equipment and a video teleconference service are all that’s necessary for teachers to hold discussions with children thousands of miles away or for businesses to keep their employees in touch.
Robyn Langford is a freelance blogger and student at an online university. If face-to-face communication technologies interest you, you may want to consider getting an online mass communication degree.
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