Niche Apps Driving Video Calling Adoption?

Garrett Smith, one of the smartest people writing about VoIP out there, had an interesting post a few weeks ago, about the use of video calling:

"Propelled by the "seeing is believing" phenomena, video phone calling is continuing to increase in popularity and usage.  It's growing adoption, however, is not being driven by traditional consumer calling (as one would think), but by niche applications."

Garrett also provides several examples of such niche applications - some of which I haven't known about until I read his post. While I don't refute the fact that video calling is used for a wide variety of niche applications, I think the analysis is a bit misleading.

I've discussed it here already, when I was analyzing whether  video telephony adoption is a matter of better user experience or more use cases. I still don't know the answer. But I think that video calling is not just a service - it's an enabler.

Our current communications options in regards to in-person communications, is quite varied: we can send snail mail (if we remember how this old technology work...), email, a fax, an instant message, a tweet, do a voice call, leave voicemail, do a video call, collaborate over the web, share our PC screen, etc.


Two way communication done right!

This means that we can now select the best means of communications for a given scenario: we won't be doing a voice call, if an instant message makes more sense, and we won't be using a voice call when seeing the other side is important for the task in hand.

As someone here at RADVISION told me this week, talking heads isn't really video conferencing. It's the fact that you can now call people, see them, move on from there to sharing data and interacting in ways you couldn't before, especially when done across businesses - that's the real deal behind video conferencing.

So yeah - video calling is not replacing phone calls; instead it is going to be used an innovative and more effective way to communicate,, where it will makes sense to add video. Garrett calls it "niche applications", while I prefer to call it "communications services".  The whole package offers various options to make communicating as efficient and effective as possible.


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Interesting post. I agree that it's not just niche apps generating interest in videoconferencing. Skype is doing a lot to introduce people to it.

Eventually, people will learn that good videoconferencing isn't just talking heads. It's about the ability to have better conversations than you can have via the telephone. The ability to be able to see the person on the other end of the line increases the effectiveness of your conversation.

What do you think the future of the sector will look like?

That's a good question.
I'd say that the opinions on the effectiveness and ability of video calling to add to voice in terms of improving the conversation are varied.
I believe video calling is viable as "talking heads" in two main scenarios:
1. Families - my mom would LOVE to watch me when she talks with me (I wouldn't).
2. Business - when talking to remote locations within my company (and out of it), I find video adding depth to the call, especially when done with people I know for a long time, but meet only rarely.


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