Video streaming may soon become one of the most popular Internet technologies. For now the most commonly used video streaming technology is Video on Demand (VOD). It allows viewers to gain access to streaming video files using their web browser. However the potential ways of using video streaming include also such things as virtual classrooms and remote surgery.
Two-way video web conferencing is no longer the future, it is now. We can try it ourselves using newer instant messaging systems such as MSN Messenger. Of course, the quality of such video streaming is usually very low up to the point of being barely recognizable, but it can still be used to transfer live images over long distances.
Increasing the quality of two-way video conferences will call for the use of dedicated servers with low bandwidth overhead. They are extremely useful for maintaining business conferences.
The ultimate task lying in front of video streaming technology is allowing surgeons to operate on patients from remote locations. This is not the reality, yet, as this would require so high bandwidths that are yet impossible to achieve. They would need to give doctors an opportunity to remotely control surgical equipment as well as receive high quality uninterrupted visual, auditory and instrument feedback.
For now, streaming video technology is reliable enough to let doctors remotely consult with each other and with patients, as well as give advice during the operation. This is a great benefit to all medical facilities located in sparsely populated areas. Consultations and contact with patients on the Internet save time and the expense of transporting the patient to an urban center for treatment.
The most popular application of video streaming is VOD. VOD video files can be hosted by any server and it is possible to access them by anyone with a computer and some kind of Internet connection.
The easy access may be extremely useful for all kinds of users, but especially for schools and universities, giving teachers an opportunity to archive classroom material. The lectures can then be accessed at any time by any student. What’s more, they are easily supplemented with extra materials. Also, those universities which deal with distance learning rely mainly on video streaming technology.
Generally, VOD is a very handy tool for any large institution that needs to distribute learning materials. Unlike in case of university TV, lectures can be pauses, rewound and reviewed, making all learning process much more effective. That’s why sometimes educational videos are actually more effective than typical classroom instruction.
Simply anything that can become a part of the footage can be kept on a web server and published on the Internet, including entertainment videos, business meetings, political speeches or ‘virtual tours’ which let the users see the layout of a particular building.
Anther possible use is the security. Live video streaming can also help monitor remote locations. At first glance, this is similar to typical security cameras, except that streaming technology does not need closed circuits. The video can be monitored from virtually anywhere in the world, providing there is an Internet connection nearby.