People have fantasized about video chat for a long time. Ever since the Star Trek days, when Captain Kirk spoke to the other members of the USS Enterprise via video chat, people eagerly awaited the day when we too would communicate like this.
In the 1960s, AT&T released the picture phone, which was a huge phone with a kind of camera attached to it. The receiver saw a constant stream of photos of you that gave him the allusion of a running video. However, the picture phone never went mainstream as AT&T was unable to attract enough subscribers and the technology was not yet ready for the technology.
It was a good starting point, but with the advent of the Internet, video calling apps started to appear. When broadband replaced dial-up and people had enough bandwidth to video call effectively, applications like skype, msn, camfrog, etc. They grew up and some people began to explore video communication.
Between 2000 and 2008, the adoption of video calling grew steadily, but it was still an afterthought compared to texting, chatting, or emailing. People claimed that video chat rather than asynchronous communication was not in their DNA. Video chat was also questioned because people stated that they do not want to communicate and have to focus 90-100% of their effort on maintaining eye contact. With something like texting you don’t need as much concentration in an argument.
However, with the advent of more bandwidth, better video chat applications, better video cameras and mobile phones, the adoption of video talk has exploded in the last 3-4 years. Now there are web-based video apps where you don’t need to download any software. On your phone, using apps like Klip, socialcam, or viddy, you can broadcast your life in a series of video updates. Cameras for video calling are getting better and better so you can see the person you are talking to much better and people are getting used to video communication. Like all previous technologies, people are getting used to video chat and how to use it.
With people getting used to video calling and most especially teenagers growing up in an environment where video calling is the norm, we can see that by 2020 the world will look like Star Trek! So what about you? Do you like to video chat? Why or why not? Do you also think that video communication is becoming commonplace? That far!