There are three main types of video conference solutions for businesses: “point-to-point,” “multipoint” and “streaming.”
“Point-to-point” is a direct connection between two locations. It’s like a telephone call but with video. “Multipoint” lets more than two locations take part in the same video conference. Both of these solutions can take place in a meeting room, your desktop at work, your home computer—or even over your smartphone or tablet when you’re on the road.
When you’re using your home computer or mobile device, you may often be “streaming.” A streaming video conference uses software instead of hardware. With software, your mobile device connects over the Internet to any other video conference users, even if the people on the other side of the connection are using hardware.
Be careful—free services and business-class video conferencing services are not the same. Besides offering lower quality video, free services may not let you share data or record and playback conferences. Adding or dropping calls can be tricky, if not impossible. And even some business-class services can have drawbacks if they’re not standards-based. Standards-based systems share technology among various providers, so you can have video conferences with other people even if they don’t use the same type of system you use.