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Although not as widely used in everyday communications as audio-only and text communication, useful applications include sign language transmission for deaf and speech-impaired people, distance education, telemedicine, and overcoming mobility issues.
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.
Simple analog videophone communication could be established as early as the invention of the television.
The development of advanced video codecs, more powerful CPUs, and high-bandwidth Internet telecommunication services in the late 1990s allowed videophones to provide high quality low-cost colour service between users almost anyplace in the world that the Internet is available.
TV channels routinely use this type of videotelephony when reporting from distant locations.
The news media were to become regular users of mobile links to satellites using specially equipped trucks, and much later via special satellite videophones in a briefcase.
News media organizations have begun to use desktop technologies like Skype to provide higher-quality audio than the phone network, and video links at much lower cost than sending professional equipment or using a professional studio.
More popular videotelephony technologies use the Internet rather than the traditional landline phone network, even accounting for modern digital packetized phone network protocols, and even though videotelephony software commonly runs on smartphones.