Creative Uses of Web Conferencing

by : Dan Richmond

Web conferencing has so far been used mostly in business-based applications. However when people start to realize that they can overcome all geographical barriers with online conferencing, then some really creative uses of this technology will begin to sprout in all areas of life.

In fact this is already happening and here are a few examples of how conferencing is making what was impossible yesterday, possible today.

When Nebraska resident Cindy Holsing found out that her two daughters would be graduating from two different colleges on the same day last spring she became depressed.

"My heart just sank," Holsing said. "I thought: It is what it is. We can't do anything about it." At first she thought that the best way she could "attend" both commencements would be to get video tapes of the ceremonies which she would watch together.

However, when she put in a request for a video tape to the Midland Lutheran College, one of the college's staff tried to find a better solution. He helped the Holsing family set up video web cameras at the two commencements and watch them through an online conferencing set-up that cost less than $100.

On graduation day, Mr. and Mrs. Hosing each went to one of the ceremonies and watched the other one on laptops which were logged onto a video conferencing link. Both parents and both girls were satisfied.

Attending a Wedding From Afar

A similar dilemma was faced by an ailing mother in Pittsburgh whose daughter was getting married in Florida. Monica Fournier, a cousin of the bride said, "When I realized that my cousin's mom in Pittsburgh, who is awaiting a lung transplant, could not attend her daughter's wedding in Florida I began to search for solutions."

"I had heard about video conferencing on the Internet, but had never tried it and had no idea if it could work for this occasion. It was a real stab in the dark!" Monica added.

On the wedding day, both the wedding ceremony and the video conference were successful and "my cousin was thrilled her mom could participate in her special day from hundreds of miles away," concluded Monica.

These are just two examples of how video conferencing can allow people to be in two places at the same time and to take part in important family events regardless of any obstacles.

As web and video conferencing become more popular, there will be lots more stories of this type. In the next article I will look at more ways how online conferencing is about to transform communications both at home and in the business place.