At 3G Doctor we’ve been able to make 2 way Video Calls to and from PC’s and 3G Mobiles for some time but it’s not simple or inexpensive. So it’s great to see Skype is preparing to make 2010 the year when it makes this technology a simple consumer proposition.
At both ends of the problem Skype are providing consumers with solutions:
> The Skype Mobile application is doing really well with 3G network deals in place (eg. 3 SkypePhone) which could easily be updated to support 3G Video Calling and offers tremendous levels of consumer trust, familiarity and installed base.
> The newly announced “Skype on your TV” offering.
Have no doubt, every Video Homecare buyer is going to be shelving their various VideoPhone purchases (eg. Intel HealthGuides) and wanting these mass produced solutions.
Interestingly Cisco is also making sounds that it’ll be entering the consumer end of the Video Calling business (recently boosted by the take over of Tandberg – a pioneer in Professional Video Telehealth solutions) but I feel it’s going to have its work cut out to have any sizeable impact against Skypes established consumer video brand.
One of the biggest problems with peer to peer 3G Video Calling is the need for “presence” ie. knowing whether your intended recipient has 3G coverage and is in a situation in which they want to share their image. Skype already includes the network of friends and that all important availability data so if there’s nothing on the TV what’s going to stop you from checking in on how your grandchild is doing with their homework?
I’ve always thought that Skype will become the most popular end point for 3G Video Calls – yes even more popular than other 3G VideoPhones – but this looks even more likely when you look at the user experience they’ll be able to deliver through the use of specially designed microphones and top brand widescreen flat HDTV’s…
… that reminds me, better give the front room a quick tidy!!