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.A number of organizations believed that videotelephony would be superior to plain voice communications.However video technology was to be deployed in analog television broadcasting long before it could become practical—or popular—for videophones.Telepresence may refer either to a high-quality videotelephony system (where the goal is to create the illusion that remote participants are in the same room) or to meetup technology which goes beyond video into robotics (such as moving around the room or physicially manipulating objects).Videoconferencing has also been called "visual collaboration" and is a type of groupware.
It is also used in commercial and corporate settings to facilitate meetings and conferences, typically between parties that already have established relationships.
A videophone is a telephone with a video display, capable of simultaneous video and audio for communication between people in real-time.
Videoconferencing implies the use of this technology for a group or organizational meeting rather than for individuals, in a videoconference.
The development of the crucial video technology first started in the latter half of the 1920s in the United Kingdom and the United States, spurred notably by John Logie Baird and AT&T's Bell Labs.
This occurred in part, at least with AT&T, to serve as an adjunct supplementing the use of the telephone.
Attempts at using normal telephony networks to transmit slow-scan video, such as the first systems developed by AT&T Corporation, first researched in the 1950s, failed mostly due to the poor picture quality and the lack of efficient video compression techniques.