History of Web Conferencing System

plugNmeet
7 min readOct 7, 2022

The concept of video communication and video conferencing was far ahead of its time, like so many others. Soon after the telephone was invented in the late 1800s, people were dissatisfied with only hearing their counterparts — they also wanted to see them.

The first video call was only the beginning; it took many more steps and years to develop Zoom meetings with a dozen people. For decades, AT&T and Bell Labs were the primary providers of telecommunication, gradually paving the way for modern-day video calls.

Video conferencing has come a long way from black and white still images to 4k resolution in real-time. The history of video conferencing is long and storied, with Zoom, Teams, plugNmeet, Skype, and Webex as some of the most popular platforms today.

1800s

Though the first concepts of video conferencing came about in the 1870s, it would be many years before this technology could be put into use.

1920s

Despite their technical simplicity, video transmission was a difficult process. The problem wasn’t the technology; it was the cameras. In the second half of the 1920s, TV cameras became available that were stable and functional, laying the groundwork for video communication.

On April 7, 1927, AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories built the world’s first functional television communication system. A live moving image of then-Commerce Secretary Hoover was broadcasted from the White House to New York — a distance of 200 miles — by the TV communication complex. Viewers in a Manhattan theater could view Hoover, but he was unable to do so.

1930s

AT&T transmitted a two-way video conversation between two AT&T offices in New York City for the first time in 1931. However, economic stress from the Great Depression caused development to halt.

1936

During the 1936 summer Olympics in Germany, Georg Schubert, a German inventor, designed a prototype of contemporary video telephony that might be utilized for commercial purposes.

The system was called Gegensehn-Fernsprechanlagen, or “visual telephone system.” It connected Berlin and Leipzig using a coaxial cable — about 100 miles apart. The connections eventually expanded to more than 620 miles of coaxial cable transmission lines in many cities. Video call booths were set up in post offices so people could connect to callers in other video booths located in different cities. However, the technology was discontinued when World War II began in 1939.

1950s and 1960s

In 1959, the Picturephone Mod I was created by Bell Telephone Laboratories. This prototype allowed for two-way communication via a frame that updated every two seconds. Although the image wasn’t perfect, it was stable and much clearer than other options at the time.

The project caught AT&T’s attention and they presented a working model of the phone at the World’s Fair in New York on April 20th, 1964.

In 1969, AT&T debuted the Picturephone Mod II, an office video communication system capable of broadcasting 30 frames per second. Despite numerous attempts, AT&T was unable to establish a nationwide Picturephone network.

1982

Compression Labs, an AT&T competitor, debuted CLI T1 as the world’s first commercial group video conferencing system. Since its hardware filled an entire room, it had a pricey initial cost of $250,000. Each call also was charged at $1,000/hour.

1980s

In 1984, some students from MIT joined together with their professor to form PictureTel Corp. They specialized in creating codecs for more efficient data transfers, and they were the first company to successfully commercialize this product. In 1989, AT&T chose PictureTel as the company that they would collaborate with for an international video conference project. This was a huge break for them, and it meant providing two-way audio and full-motion video connections between Paris andPictureTel headquarters . Afterward , in 1991 , IBM became a multimedia business partner of theirs with the aim of developing a PC — based conferencing system.

1990s

In 1991, students in the Cambridge University Computer Science Department invented the first webcam. It generated a 129×129 pixel grayscale image at one frame per second, which was then grabbed three times each minute.

A Cornell student wrote a program called CU-SeeMe in the early 1990s, which revolutionized communication by becoming the first desktop video conferencing platform. It was originally released for Macintosh users in 1992 and then Windows users in 1994.

In 1994, Connectix launched QuickCam, the first commercial webcam. It had a 320x240 pixel resolution and 16 grayscale colors at 60 frames per second, or 15 frames per second if switched to 256 shades of gray. In 1998, Logitech acquired the company that created it (Logitech).

Late 1990s

Polycom started in 1990 by two individuals who used to work for PictureTel. In 1992, they released their first product called SoundStation, which was a triangular speakerphone that allowed both parties on a call to speak and be heard at the same time without any audio issues. Their first video product ShowStation shipped in 1994.

2000s

Smartphones had rear-facing cameras for photographs, but they quickly added a front-facing camera — on the same side as the keyboard — to video conference. The Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210 was the first smartphone with a front-facing camera released in Japan in 1999. In 2003, several phones, including the Sony Ericsson Z1010, were launched with built-in front cameras.

Video conferencing on smartphones hit an all-time high in 2010, with the introduction of the iPhone 4 and FaceTime. You may go from a voice call to two-way video communication with the press of a button. At first, it required only Wi-Fi connections, but Apple added support for 3G and 4G/LTE shortly after.

The world’s first telesurgery, “Operation Lindbergh,” took place on Sept. 7, 2001. A team of French and American doctors in New York used high-speed telecommunications technology and a surgical robot named Zeus to operate on a patient in Strasbourg, France.

A few months after the development of satellite video conferencing technology, it was utilized to send live reports from Afghanistan during the opening of war. Reporters sent these video broadcasts back to their network headquarters where they would be shown again.

In August 2003, two Estonian software engineers developed Skype. In 2005, EBay bought Skype and sold it to Microsoft in 2011. It began as a text chat service but later expanded to incorporate video conferencing. In 2009, two former Yahoo employees launched WhatsApp as an instant messaging program.

2020

The COVID-19 lockdown pushed a significant number of Americans to work from home, forcing them to send their children to school online. As a result, all video products benefited as many schools and businesses bought video conferencing software in order to keep employees connected at home.

The first to be established was Webex. It was founded in 1995, and Cisco bought it in 2007. It provided a comprehensive range of solutions for business users, but in September 2020, Cisco launched a new platform known as Webex Classrooms for virtual homerooms. BlueJeans is another tool that started out as a client-agnostic video conferencing software in 2009. Verizon Communications acquired it in May 2020.

Zoom is a web conferencing system that was founded in 2011 by three former employees of WebEx. It became popular for its user-friendly interface and added features such as virtual backgrounds and touch up my appearance. In 2019, it secured the title of being the most downloaded app in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. As of September 2020, the most popular web conferencing system is Zoom. It has a market share of 49.9%, followed by Webex at 20.4% and Google Meet at 16.2%.

The web conferencing system you choose for your business should depend on your specific needs and budget. If you are searching, here are some of the top web conferencing systems:

Some of the top web conferencing systems are :

  • Adobe Connect is a web conferencing system that allows users to conduct virtual meetings, webinars, and trainings. Adobe Connect is used by major corporations such as Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft.
  • Cisco WebEx is a web conferencing system that allows users to conduct online meetings, webinars, and video conferences. Cisco WebEx is used by major corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.
  • plugNmeet is is an open source web conferencing that is simple to use and customizable with high performance.
  • GoToMeeting is a web conferencing system that allows users to conduct online meetings and webinars. GoToMeeting is used by major corporations such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
  • Microsoft Lync is a web conferencing system that allows users to conduct online meetings, webinars, and video conferences. Microsoft Lync is used by major corporations such as IBM, Oracle, and SAP.
  • Skype for Business is a web conferencing system that allows users to conduct online meetings, webinars, and video conferences. Skype for Business is used by major corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

The benefits that web conferencing systems have brought us are undeniable. web conferencing system has made it possible for us to conduct business meetings, webinars, and video conferences with people from all over the world. With the click of a button, we can connect with anyone, anywhere, at anytime. web conferencing system has truly revolutionized the way we do business. Thanks to web conferencing system, the world is now a much smaller place.

There are web conferencing system for nearly every need and budget. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, there’s a web conferencing system that’s right for you. web conferencing system has made it possible for us to conduct business meetings, webinars, and video conferences with people from all over the world.

If you’re looking for a web conferencing system, be sure to check out some of the top web conferencing systems listed above. You’re sure to find the perfect web conferencing system for your needs.

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plugNmeet

Scalable, High Performance, Open source web conferencing system