As we all learn to cope with the stay-at-home orders, many of us have been working from home daily; video telephony (i.e. video teleconferencing or video chat) is one technology we all have learned to use more often. Whether sharing drinks during a happy hour chat, meeting with clients, or discussing a project with coworkers, video telephony has helped us to communicate, share laughs with friends, and keep our businesses thriving. Read on to learn more about this now-essential technology.
The notion of transmitting images and audio over a cable was independently conceptualized in the late 1870s by multiple people including Alexander Graham Bell, inventor George Carey, and French writer and cartoonist George du Maurier. It took decades for the concept to develop into a useable system and in 1927, Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover spoke from a Washington, DC video booth to a Bell Labs videophone in New York. In 1964, AT&T debuted the Mod 1 Picturephone at the World’s Fair in New York City and made the first transcontinental videocall to Disneyland in California.
Video telephony is useful for a range of applications: telecommunication for the hearing-impaired, education, telemedicine, meetings and conferences, and news media broadcasts. In social settings, video telephony is used in place of audio-only calls, to play video or board games, and in recent days to host gatherings of people who are unable to meet in person. Businesses which have transitioned their employees to working remotely are able to continue operating and to help keep our economic engines turning, the importance of which cannot be understated.