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Web conferencing is the use of streaming audio and video to communicate with a group of people at different locations. This is an extension of teleconferencing, which has been used in business for many years. Teleconferencing allows a group of people to talk to each other or hold a meeting without being in the same room. Web conferencing extends that use by allowing the people who are meeting to see each other.
Web cams are a key element of video conferencing as they allow moving images to be transferred over the Internet. People who are taking part in an online meeting of this type need computers which have an Internet connection, video capture cards and microphones or VOIP connections. Meetings can take place in a virtual meeting room to which participants are invited. This is commonly hosted on a web site or web page.
Web conferencing does more than provide live video of a meeting. Participants can use technologies such as instant messaging to share files and send private messages. There are also programs such as whiteboards that allow people to annotate presentations. Most web conferencing applications allow for encryption and other security devices, as people generally like the content of their meetings to be private.