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The History of Video Conferencing: Moving At Video Speed

No new technology develops smoothly, and video conferencing had more bumps along the way before it became the widely used communication staple that it is today. The history of video conferencing in its earliest form dates back to the 1960s, when AT&T introduced the Picturephone at the New York World’s Fair. Although it was considered a fascinating curiosity, it never caught on and was too expensive to be practical for most consumers when it was offered for $ 160 a month in 1970. Commercial use of actual video conferencing was first made with demo of Ericsson from the first transfer. Video call Atlantic LME. Soon, other companies began perfecting video conferencing technologies, including advancements such as Network Video Protocol (NVP) in 1976 and Packet Video Protocol (PVP) in 1981. However, neither of these were put into commercial use. and remained in the laboratory or in the private company. use. In 1976, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone established video conferencing (VC) between Tokyo and Osaka for company use. IBM Japan continues in 1982 by establishing VC running at 48000bps to connect with internal IBM videoconferencing links already established in the United States so they could have weekly meetings. The 1980s Introduces Commercial Video Conferencing In 1982, Compression Labs introduced its VC system to the world for $ 250,000 with lines for $ 1,000 an hour. The system was huge and used enormous resources capable of tripping 15 amp circuit breakers. However, it was the only working VC system available until PictureTel’s VC hit the market in 1986 with its substantially cheaper $ 80,000 system with $ 100 per hour lines. In the time between these two commercially offered systems, other video conferencing systems were developed that were never commercially offered. The history of video conferencing is not complete without mentioning these systems that were prototypes or systems developed specifically for internal use by a variety of corporations or organizations, including the military. Around 1984, Datapoint was using the Datapoint MINX system on its Texas campus and had provided the system to the military. In the late 1980s, Mitsubishi began selling a still image phone that was basically a failure in the market. They left the line two years after introducing it. In 1991, IBM – PicTel introduced the first PC-based video conferencing system. It was a black and white system that used what at the time was an incredibly cheap $ 30 per hour for the lines, while the system itself cost $ 20,000. By June of the same year, DARTnet had successfully connected a transcontinental IP network of more than a dozen research sites in the United States and Great Britain using T1 trunks. Today, DARTnet has become the CAIRN system, connecting dozens of institutions. CU-SeeMe revolutionizes video conferencing One of the most famous systems in the history of video conferencing was the CU-SeeMe developed for the MacIntosh system in 1992. Although the first version had no audio, it was the best video system developed for that. point. In 1993, the MAC program had multipoint capability, and in 1994, CU-SeeMe MAC was a true video conferencing with audio. Recognizing the limitations of MAC support in a Windows world, the developers worked diligently to implement the April 1994 CU-SeeME for Windows (no audio), closely followed by the audio version, CU-SeeMe v0.66b1 for Windows in August 1995. In 1992, AT&T launched its own $ 1,500 video phone for the domestic market. It was a hit to the limit. That same year, the world’s first MBone audio / video transmission took place and in July the INRIA video conferencing system was introduced. This is the year that saw the first real explosion of video conferencing for companies around the world and eventually gave rise to the standards developed by the ITU. The International Telecommunication Union develops coding standards The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) began developing standards for the coding of video conferences in 1996, when they established the H.263 Standard to reduce the transmission bandwidth for low-rate communications. bits. Other standards were developed, including H.323 for packet-based multimedia communications. It is a variety of other telecommunications standards that were revised and updated in 1998. In 1999, the Moving Picture Experts Group developed the MPEG-4 standard as an ISO standard for multimedia content. In 1993, Novell IPX VocalChat networks introduced their video conferencing system, but it was doomed from the start and didn’t last long. Microsoft finally jumped on the video conferencing bandwagon with NetMeeting, a descendant of PictureTel’s Liveshare Plus, in August 1996 (although it had no video in this version). In December of the same year, Microsoft NetMeeting v2.0b2 with video was released. That same month, the VocalTec Internet Phone v4.0 for Windows was released. VRVS connects global research centers The Virtual Room Videoconferencing System (VRVS) project at Caltech-CERN began in July 1997. They developed the VRVS specifically to provide videoconferencing to researchers from the Large Hadron Collider Project and scientists in the High Energy and Nuclear Community of Physics. in the US and Europe. It has been so successful that seed money has been allocated for phase two, CalREN-2, to improve and expand the existing VRVS system to expand it to encompass geneticists, physicians, and a host of other scientists on the video conferencing network. around the world. The Cornell University development team released CU-SeeMe v1.0 in 1998. This color video version was compatible with Windows and MacIntosh, and was a major step forward in PC video conferencing. In May of that year, the team moved on to other projects. In February 1999, MMUSIC released the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). The platform showed some advantages over H.323 that the user appreciated and soon made it almost as popular. 1999 was a busy year, with the release of NetMeeting v3.0b, quickly followed by version three of the ITU H.323 standard. Then came the release of iVisit v2.3b5 for Windows and Mac, followed by Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), version 1. In December, Microsoft released a service pack for NetMeeting v3.01 (4.4.3388) and an ISO standard. MPEG-4 version two was released. Ultimately, PSInet was the first company to launch automated H.323 multipoint services. As we said, 1999 was a very busy year. SIP entered version 1.30 in November 2000, the same year that the H.323 standard reached version 4, and Samsung launched its 3G video cell phone with MPEG-4 transmission, the first of its kind. It was a success, especially in Japan. As expected, Microsoft NetMeeting had to release another service pack for version 3.01. In 2001, Windows XP Messenger announced that it would now support the Session Initiation Protocol. This was the same year that the world’s first transatlantic telesurgery was performed using video conferencing. In this case, video conferencing was instrumental in allowing a surgeon in the US to use a robot abroad to perform gallbladder surgery on a patient. It was one of the most compelling non-commercial uses in the history of video conferencing and brought the technology to the attention of the medical profession and the general public. In October 2001, television reporters began using a portable satellite and videophone to broadcast live from Afghanistan during the war. It was the first use of video conferencing technology to chat live with video with someone in a war zone, again bringing video conferencing to the forefront of people’s imaginations. Founded in December 2001, the Joint Video Team completed the basic research that led to ITU-T H.264 in December 2002. This protocol standardized video compression technology for MPEG-4 and ITU-T over a wide range of application areas, which is more versatile than its predecessors. In March 2003, the new technology was ready for release to the industry. New Uses for Video Conferencing Technologies 2003 also saw an increase in the use of video conferencing for off-campus classrooms. Interactive classrooms became more popular as video streaming quality increased and delay decreased. Companies like VBrick provided various MPEG-4 systems to universities across the country. Desktop video conferencing is also increasing and gaining popularity. Newer companies on the market are now refining the details of performance in addition to transmission bolts and nuts. In April 2004, Applied Global Technologies developed a voice-activated camera for use in video conferencing that tracks the voices of multiple speakers to focus on whoever is speaking during a conference call. In March 2004, Linux announced the release of GnomeMeeting, a free H.323-compliant video conferencing platform that is compatible with NetMeeting. With the constant advances in video conferencing systems, it seems obvious that technology will continue to evolve and become an integral part of business and personal life. As new advancements are made and systems become more reasonably priced, keep in mind that options are still determined by network type, system requirements, and your particular conferencing needs. This article on “The History of Video Conferencing” was reprinted with permission.

Copyright © 2004 Evaluseek Publishing.

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