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It is also used in commercial and corporate settings to facilitate meetings and conferences, typically between parties that already have established relationships.
News media organizations have begun to use desktop technologies like Skype to provide higher-quality audio than the phone network, and video links at much lower cost than sending professional equipment or using a professional studio.
Videotelephony developed in parallel with conventional voice telephone systems from the mid-to-late 20th century.
Very expensive videoconferencing systems rapidly evolved throughout the 1980s and 1990s from proprietary equipment, software and network requirements to standards-based technologies that were available for anyone to purchase at a reasonable cost.
During this time, there was also research into other forms of digital video and audio communication.
Many of these technologies, such as the Media space, are not as widely used today as videoconferencing but were still an important area of research.
Although not as widely used in everyday communications as audio-only and text communication, useful applications include sign language transmission for deaf and speech-impaired people, distance education, telemedicine, and overcoming mobility issues.The news media were to become regular users of mobile links to satellites using specially equipped trucks, and much later via special satellite videophones in a briefcase.This technique was very expensive, though, and could not be used for applications such as telemedicine, distance education, and business meetings.This was first embodied in the device which came to be known as the video telephone, or videophone, and it evolved from intensive research and experimentation in several telecommunication fields, notably electrical telegraphy, telephony, radio, and television.Simple analog videophone communication could be established as early as the invention of the television.
Videoconferencing has also been called "visual collaboration" and is a type of groupware.