Falling prices and newer technologies make this tool more accessible—and useful
One would expect scientists with the institution that gave birth to the World Wide Web to be able to speak face-to-face over the Internet. But what scientists do at CERN, an international organization for physics research, defies most people’s expectations.
Consider that a single video session can include hundreds of people. Some 300 sessions a day can take place among the 20,000 scientists affiliated with CERN, though they work in institutes scattered around the globe.
The gargantuan scale and effectiveness of video conferencing at Geneva-based CERN points to the rapid strides made in recent years in a technology that for decades hovered in limbo, out of reach, a futuristic holy grail.
Indeed, the market for corporate video conferencing has exploded. Across business, higher education and health care, video conferencing has gone from a stilted experience on a telephone with a screen to a smooth, integrated part of Internet communications. Today, videoconferencing is giving users on-the-go access from mobile devices, and overcoming the hurdles of disparate systems and devices as it continues a transition from hardware to software to cloud computing.