After All That Buzz About Video Chatting, Why Are 99 per cent Of My Calls Still Of The Voice Variety?

Apple TV FaceTime

Yes, I know we were all excited about video calling when Apple came out with Facetime and now that Skype has recently updated their iPhone app to support video chatting the excitement continues to ascend.

You couldn’t wait to video call any of your 3 measly friends with iPhone 4’s but is video chatting ever going to overtake the century old standard phone call? I highly doubt it. 

With the introduction of Skype video chat and the already popular Facetime on Apple devices it would look as if video chat is undoubtedly here to stay, but one must question its growth and popularity. 

When video chat started bursting to the scene I was trying out Apps like Tango, a great app which enables you to video chat while blurring the lines between platform restrictions.

Video chatting  is fun and cheap (usually free) so you won’t find a reason not to try it but it won’t replace your regular old voice phone calls and I’ll tell you why.  

  • It’s very personal, maybe too personal. It’s like the person you’re speaking to is right there, depending on who you’re chatting with- a phone call may be more appropriate. For instance depending on your relationship with your boss you’re not going to answer a video call from him/her while you’re in pajamas. How you look now matters as opposed to a phone call where how you dress is a moot point.  
  • Your environment may not allow it. This may be a little too excessive but it’s almost like they have teleported to where you are. What I’m saying is it won’t take a “James Bond” type of character to figure it where you are. I enjoy the anonymity of my location when placing a regular phone call or when sending out a quick text.
  • A no brainier is driving while video chatting. It’s probably worse than texting, talking, shaving, eating and whatever else you like to do in the privacy of your own vehicle.
  • Pray that you don’t see a random telemarketer face to face some day while enjoying your favourite sitcoms’ on a Thursday night.  I don’t think it pays for marketers to use video chatting as a method to reach out to potentials, I’m guessing a very large chunk won’t even answer the phone. However I could see how this may work in the corporate “customer retention” or “customer service” field  
  • According to a Nielsen Wire post, about 21% of mobile users own smart phones and its growing rapidly but that still leaves a healthy chunk of my address book without the ability to initiate or receive a video call. As that number continues to increase I would imagine I would use it more, but probably with distant relatives or maybe while on vacation at most.

There have been great strides as of late in the video teleconferencing world and it’s not limited to just mobile devices. The new Cisco ūmi looks very promising and I wouldn’t mind having a video conference on a large 1080p LCD with some distant friends or family while in the comfort of our living rooms.  It seems video chat is here to stay but it won’t replace the standard phone call anytime soon. Nevertheless it fits well with our calling, texting, emailing, tweeting and chatting communication mediums we all love to use today.

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