What’s the difference between teleconferencing and videoconferencing?

You’ve probably heard the terms “teleconferencing” and “videoconferencing” before. And if this is the case, then you most likely live on planet Earth.

However, while these two terms are widely used, they aren’t exactly “known.” In other words, people don’t really know what they mean.

Now, you’re probably thinking that’s silly. Of course people know what those terms mean.

But in reality, that’s pretty far from the case.

Sure, you might know the right definition of both, and you might even use those two terms correctly; however, the average person does not.

People tend to use teleconferencing and videoconferencing interchangeably to mean the same thing … but in reality, they aren’t the same thing. They’re two different words for a reason.

So in an effort to stop this madness and to help you avoid a potentially embarrassing future mix-up between a teleconference and a video conference, here’s what you need to know.

What’s the difference between teleconferencing and videoconferencing?

First things first, we can’t exactly answer the above question without providing a simple explanation of the two. So here it is:

Teleconferencing: A general term that is used to describe a meeting that transmits audio or audio-video data between two or more people via a telephone, computer radio, or other devices that includes web conferencing, video conferencing, and telephone conferencing

Videoconferencing: A precise term that is used to describe a meeting that transmits both audio and video data between two or more people that is offered via VoIP, often requiring specific hardware and software

Clearly, there’s a difference.

Teleconferencing can technically mean videoconferencing, but videoconferencing won’t always mean teleconferencing.

(Think of teleconferencing as “sauce” and videoconferencing as “barbecue sauce.” Barbecue sauce can be called sauce, but sauce won’t always be barbecue sauce. In other words, you can’t use videoconferencing to describe a telephone conference. It’d be like saying that ranch is barbecue sauce. Ranch is part of the sauce family, but it is not barbecue sauce.)

Teleconferencing is flexible and often requires less bandwidth (because it transmits all that data over an old-school PBX platform). It is considered a “blanket term” (sauce) that is used to describe a whole mess of meetings.

Check out the 3 main differences between on-premise PBX and hosted PBX

On the other hand, videoconferencing is a very specific term (barbecue sauce) that refers to what many people would consider the average video conference.

Videoconferencing could prove to be a more expensive meeting solution (because it typically requires different hardware and special software to get started). But if you consider the actual platform (VoIP), the “cost” of videoconferencing might not be that great after all (since VoIP is often seen as a less expensive business-grade voice solution).

Learn more about the top 5 benefits of VoIP that will modernize your conversations

And to top it off, the ability to “see” people during a meeting (to watch their facial expressions and to analyze their body language) is considered a critical component of communication — again, making the initial investment of videoconferencing appear not so large.

Learn more about the benefits of videoconferencing

At the end of the day, however, both terms are used to describe a meeting between two or more people and both are used to promote internal and external communication in real time (which is a good thing for any company).

So if you’re thinking it’s time to step up your meeting game, then let us know. We’d be happy to chat.