Live Streaming and Virtual Meetings: What’s the Difference?

As teleworking becomes increasingly common, people have to learn to work with technologies that are new to them. That can be a struggle, mainly because these teleworking solutions come with new technologies.

One frequently asked question involves the differences between live streaming and virtual meetings (or as industry professionals call it, unified communication). Without an understanding of the distinctions, people might become concerned that their virtual meetings are being live-streamed. Not to worry–these are different functions, and we’re here to explain how each works.

Live Streaming
Live streaming refers to media that is being simultaneously recorded and broadcast. Instagram and Facebook live events are examples of live streaming. During this time of the pandemic, some theater companies, musicians, and opera houses are also live-streaming their productions. Sporting events are often live-streamed.

Not all streaming is live. For instance, Netflix is a streaming service, but not a live stream, because you are watching pre-recorded content. In this case, streaming just means you are watching content that you did not have to download.

Some applications, like YouTube, offer both streaming and live streaming options. The content creator can decide whether they would like to create or upload a video for streaming or create live-streamed content for viewers to enjoy at the moment.

Unified Communication
Most teleworking right now is happening via unified communications, not live streaming. Unified communication, or virtual meetings, allow people to see and hear each other in real-time. While these meetings may be recorded, they are not (usually) being recorded and broadcast at the same time, and thus are not live streams.

Phone calls, webinars, Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime, are all forms of unified communication. Unlike text or email, the participants are communicating directly and in real-time, whereas text and email are asynchronous–you get a text, and you can respond to it at a later point.

How We Can Help
People need to be able to stay connected to their communities and coworkers. We can set up live streaming and unified communication options for your office, theater, house of worship, or school to facilitate this connection.

We can design a custom set up for you, whether you want to equip your students to learn or worship live with your parishioners. Unified communication setups are especially useful to schools and businesses who need to keep people in contact with each other every day. You can benefit from our experience with visual and sound installation, as well as options to help the deaf and hard of hearing, blind, and other people with disabilities get the most out of every interaction with the team.

Live streaming is helpful for those who have large audiences who want to watch what’s happening in real-time, but do not need to contribute–think about it as watching a football game from home. Many houses of worship these days are choosing this option so their parishioners can feel connected to services and participate from home. Theater groups, zoos, and celebrities are taking advantage of live streaming options to share with their fans.

You have enough to worry about right now, and struggling with an ineffective or complicated setup shouldn’t be on that list. If you need to enhance your live streaming and unified communication offerings, give us a call. We can talk you through what you need and work with you to ensure your technology is reliable and easy to use.

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