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Video bridging, also known as audio-video bridging because both audio and video are being recorded and broadcast, is a type of videoconferencing technique that allows participants to switch among other participants. For regular videoconferencing, only one person is seen. With video bridging, the person who is in charge of the conference can switch to whoever he or she is talking to or focusing on. This allows for more personal videoconferencing, rather than just one person talking indiscriminately to a group of other people. The bridge is connected to the Internet, which smoothes out video transitions.
Videoconferencing is when a conference — often a business conference but also applicable to videoconferences at schools and colleges, is held on a video channel on the computer. With normal videoconferencing, there is one person, or one side of the video channel, giving the conference. Everyone else connected to the conference then sees and hears the conference. There is no way to switch between participants, so these conferences usually gather all the members in a single room. This means everyone, except the person in control of the conference, has to be in the same area for the conference to be effective.
With the video bridging technique, the person controlling the conference can switch among participants. This allows the presenter to be more personal with participants. This also enables the other members to participate in the videoconference regardless of their location. Most video bridge programs allow everyone to hear and see the presenter, even if he or she is talking to only one participant in the conference.
Along with speaking with people, video bridging usually also allows participants to open other media during the conference. This means that, if a file or website is relevant to the conversation, a participant can open the media so others can see it. This expands the use of videoconferencing and allows members to reduce printing costs, because there is no need for a paper medium.
Video bridging often uses the Internet to bring all the participants together. By using the Internet, transfers between participants are smoothed out. If the Internet were not used, then the program would have to capture video from one member, send it to another computer so a member could open it, wait for the video to load, and then wait for the recipient to respond to it. This process is tedious and difficult for all members and uses much more memory than just having the conference over the Internet.