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Mobile Video: the next Big Thing?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Opinions differ on the usefulness of having the ability to see a high-quality live video of the person you're talking to on your mobile phone. While I doubt that everyone in the future will always opt to make video calls, I am convinced that it will be used in certain situations, and that it will be a Big Thing.

Ken Camp sums it up pretty well:

We carry the tools we know we need for planned life events. Today is my grandson’s birthday and we’re going to have a party. I’ll have my Nikon, my video camera and my laptop with webcam because this is a scheduled life event. It’s planned. Unscheduled life events need tools that support impromtu response.

A baby’s first steps, the sheer joy
An auto accident and the trauma involved
An award at school and the radiant face of a child
The surprise business meeting, just because we can.
The victory dance of a child after a soccer goal, touchdown or homerun.
The reporter on the scene and a hurricane, earthquake, fire, or other event.
I think that list is endless.

Peter Csathy, CEO of SightSpeed, has other good uses in mind:

Imagine shopping at the grocery store and not being sure of a particular product to buy. Rather than bring home the wrong one (which I frequently do) or try to describe it to my wife as I meander around the store's aisles, how about simply video calling her from my mobile phone and "showing" her the choices on the shelf and particular items (thereby confirming, much more efficiently than via simple verbal descriptions, whether I have selected the "right" product).

And, think of the SMB user -- let's say, a real estate agent -- he or she could better serve his or her clients by conducting a live video "tour" of a property with his or her mobile device (so that the client need not visit every property).

Mobile video-enabled commerce is another exciting new possibility in this "see what I'm seeing" bucket of potential uses (I can show folks interested in my used car via a mobile video call precisely what the exterior and interior of my car looks like before they drive out to visit me and close the deal)
In addition, the current uses for static webcams will surely be extended to mobile video calls, including relatives getting together over long distances and lovestruck teenagers who want to feel as close to each other as allowable. Let's just see how Big this gets.


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