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A brief history of video conferencing

Arno Yeramyan
November 7, 2022

None of us were expecting the video conferencing technology to improve so fast in such a short period of time. However, the definition of video conferencing as well as the history of video conferencing go back further than we imagine. Starting from the audio wires of the 1870s and passing through Bell Lab’s video phone in late 1920s, the video conferencing technology has covered a huge distance and made great improvements. If you want to know more about the interesting history of this fascinating technology, keep reading!

What is video conferencing?

Although everybody knows what video conferencing is these days, it doesn’t hurt to go over its definition once more to make it clear for everyone. A video conference is a meeting in which attendees in various places are able to communicate through sound and vision.While the idea of video conferencing dates back to the late 19th century, the medium had to wait for more than a hundred years to be one of the main forms of communication. Nevertheless, it seems like in the post-pandemic world, the video conferencing platforms and video conferencing apps will be even more popular and prevalent than before.


The first developments of video conferencing roughly dates between 1870 and 1930. In this period, the very first idea of transmitting an image with an accompanying sound through an audio wire was born.It is also recorded that in 1927, in Washington DC, Bell Labs managed to connect DC officials with the president of a prominent telecommunication company (namely AT&T) via a two-way audio connection and a video connection. Although the participants could only sustain the connection for a very short period of time, the technology was considered to be ground breaking.  Subsequently, Herbert Hoover’s image was transmitted from DC to New York. Never to mention that the distance was over 200 miles, the event caused great enthusiasm and made news!


The forty year long period of the 1930s and 1970s was way more exciting than the previous decades. The 1950s was the first time that the word ‘video’ was brought into common use. In 1951, the American engineer Charles Ginsburg and his research team were among the first people to invent video tape recorders and popularize the term. Moreover, this was also the period when the first proper video call was made with success. In the 1960s, AT&T  was yet again the first company to launch commercial video calls. During the same years, AT&T, the pioneer company of video conferencing, invented a machine called ‘PicturePhone’ specific to the purpose of video conferencing. In addition to AT&T staff, the technology was largely used by white collar employees who could afford it. Still being a quite expensive technology, the picturephone and therefore video conferencing started being used commercially in late 1960s and early 1970s in the US.


With the proliferation of technological availability as well as the number of companies entering to the market, the  video conferencing industry also started to become livelier between the 1970s and 2000s. While companies such as CompressionLabs entered the market, the commercial video conferencing systems kept becoming more and more advanced.  The 1970s and 1980s were times when widespread communication networks that were meant to sustain video conferencing started to gain ground in Japan. It was also the time when IBM launched a video communication service between its offices in Japan and the US.


Early 2000s was the first time conferencing technology became widely available and free for all the internet users thanks to services such as Skype and iChat. Furthermore, 2005 is known to be the first year of HD video conferencing. The latest and probably one of the greatest achievements of developers of conferencing technologies was the cloud system. Proliferated and made common by major corporations such as Windows, Apple and Samsung, cloud systems defined (and still continue to define) the future of video conferencing systems, apps and platforms. The 2020s (owing much of its thrust to Covid-19) witnessed a ‘boom’ in the market of free video conferencing tools and platforms. Developers, major and minor companies as well as start-ups, dedicated a huge chunk of their energy to devise the latest and most comprehensive of the conferencing systems in order to serve the necessities and interests of all relevant users. The proliferation of new platforms such as WebinarNinja, Airmeet and Kosy coincides with this period. Moreover, companies like Webex and Zoom also started to add new features to their products and services.


It is likely that none of us expected the technology of video conferencing and the video conferencing platforms to gain such popularity and commonality. However, with the variety of customizable and secure video conferencing platforms such as Airmeet, Kosy and WebinarNinja, it is now possible for people working in various industries, companies and businesses to meet their needs for virtual communication in all forms.For instance, while Airmeet aims to be a platform for virtual summits and meetings, Kosy is designed to function as a virtual office. Meanwhile, WebinarNinja is a comprehensive webinar tool that contains a subset of other features offering the users to customize their webinars according to their needs.

Location-independent work

Today, the teleconferencing systems and video conferencing technology is way more developed than it has ever been. In addition to the endless number of apps and devices that make the conferencing experience much smoother, the platforms offer more and more to their customers in terms of what they can get by various types of memberships. The future is being shaped by these technologies that serve the needs of modern workers. Not just with video conferencing tools, but with talent and client management services of Ruul, more than 50.000 solo workers are able to connect and conduct business with over 10.000 organizations from anywhere in the world.Don’t forget to register with Ruul and keep following Ruul Blog for the latest news from the world of modern work!


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