Thoughts on The Impact of Mobile Video Calling

How will mobile video calls impact our everyday life? This was the subject of one of the sessions at last night’s Social Media Manchester meet-up, a monthly get-together of publishers, PRs, tech-heads, futurists and social media types.

The question proved divisive.

The main problem appears to be mentioning Apple. These Jonny Come Latelys have added video calling (FaceTime) to their iPhone 4, much to the disgust of geeks who (rightly) claim similar technology has been around for years and the public has ignored it. Frustratingly, the geeks miss the point: Apple have a knack of making tech sexy useful. It doesn’t matter that technology already exists, or who invented it, it’s how it is made relevant to the public.

The accepted wisdom seems to be we don’t want video calling because a) we’re working in our dressing gown, b) we don’t want the boss to see we’re on the golf course, c) the camera makes it look like we have a double chin.

True enough, but there are viable exceptions:

  • Parents wanting to check their child is ok at the child minder’s
  • Tradesman offering to do a simple assessment/quote based on a video call
  • Companies creating a point of difference by having Call Centre Honeys
  • Husbands calling to check they’re buying the right stuff from the supermarket
  • Booking a B&B after being shown the view from the bedroom window

Someone will make the idea of using mobile video essential; consumers will make video calls when they see they are a better alternative to non-video calls. It will not replace voice-only, but add to our options (just as with text and email). In the future, I suspect we’re going to have to be even more careful about our appearance.

Right now, buy shares in the makers of double-chin tightening cream.

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