The use of video conferencing dates back to the 1960s. It started as a contraption in the form of a picture phone. The integration of video and voice into the technology was first realized in the Advanced Technology (AT) labs in 1956. In this invention, the telephone caller could not only hear the other person talking but in addition, they would see who they are talking to at the same time.
At that time, there was very little knowledge of the emergence of video conferencing. People could however communicate across board rooms at dispersed locations. People could transfer documents like visual presentations and word files from different departments.
In 1970, there emerged a couple of picture phones that were incorporated into commercial operations. AT & T at this time predicted that towards the beginning of the 80s, there would be world wide coverage of the technology.
The original picture phone was expensive and thus was not easily accessible by a majority of consumers. On the other hand, the usability and use of portability of the software were in question. Just like any other debut technology, the software used to operate slowly since it made use of analog transmission. The pictures were blurry because of low pixel counts in many of the abacus CRTs of that time. The pictures could not be seen properly also.
The AT &T was not the main player in this industry. There were a couple of other companies working on their innovativeness and in 1982, the first ever free video chat system was released to the market by Compression labs. The system was extremely power consuming and made of use of many resources. This system retailed at $250000 and was accompanied with a connection fee of $1000 hourly. This thus meant that the system was affordable by the wealthy. This became the only available system in the world until the emergence of PictureTel, a company in Massachusetts which charged lower prices with $80000 for the system and $100 hourly connection cost for the leased line.
International Business Machines (IBM) pulled resources with Picture Tel and produced a black and white conferencing system which cost $20000 but still this price was well beyond the reach of the normal user. To this end, there needed some inclusion of video conference rooms but the setup was expensive.
In 1992, AT & T introduced the Videophone mainly channeled to the home users whose price tag was lowered to the range of $1500. In this time, Macintosh introduced the CU-SeeMe v0.1 intended for use with the PC. Unfortunately this system lacked audio capability but the quality of the videos was exemplary.
In the year 1994, Microsoft introduced their own flavor of CU-SeeMe and subsequently the Surf & Call system which allowed a one-on-one e-commerce platform.
In the year 2000, Samsung released the 3G streaming video phone. This allowed the users to read from it, view and hear voice when delivering messages. Currently, the price of video conferencing system is greatly varied depending on need, and manufacturer among a couple other factors.