Video calling over the internet is being used with increasing frequency over the internet, but the technology being used to make these calls is a long way behind that which can be found in the business world. Could new innovations in this field be about to not only substantially increase the quality of video calls, but also change the way we make phone calls forever?
Since the early 1980’s making video calls from the home was possible, possible but not practical. The costs were high and the video quality was terrible. Needless to say the technology didn’t catch on. However things are different now, the explosion of the internet and ever increasing internet speeds has made it possible to actually transmit high quality video without so many reliability problems. More and more people are buying webcams and using Skype to cheaply video chat with far away friends and relatives.
If the advances in video chat in the home over the last 30 years have amazed you, then a look at the business world will show you that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Video conference facilities have been advancing in the business world since the 1980s, much of what you have on your home computer got its start in companies that had offices all over the world which they needed to communicate with. Over the last five years however these developments have really been accelerated, the recent economic instability has meant that companies have become more reluctant to send their executives jetting off all over the world for meetings, but instead been looking at comparatively cheaper options, such as video conferencing. The extra money and competition this has created in the industry has led to many exciting new innovations. In attempts to best there competitors manufactures have developed higher and higher resolutions of video and found ways to send these high resolutions reliably through slower internet connections. Some companies have even developed ways of sending full body projections of absent meeting attendees into the meeting. These new advances have led to video conferencing equipment being redubbed telepresence.
As with all technologies, it only takes time for price and complexities to decrease, and this is now beginning to happen with telepresence. Many manufacturers are now beginning to produce large screen high definition televisions which incorporate telepresence hardware. Telepresence hardware designed to work not only on the ultra-high speed internet connections found in corporate offices but also on the regular broadband connections most homes have.
So is this going to change the way you make phone calls? This new technology is crushing the barriers that detoured a lot of users. Video calling could become as simple as turning on your television and instantly produce quality that can really come close to making you feel like your friends and family are with you. Putting the technology in a television also means the the technology is now at the centre of your home where you would normally entertain guests. This could really be the change that makes video calling and realistic replacement for the telephone.
This technology is still priced a little too high for most home users and is currently aimed at businesses who wish to encourage teleworking and telecommuting, however if it is successful in this industry it will only be a matter of time until prices of telepresence devices fall to a level where they could be considered a house hold item.
And when it does think at the changes it could potentially make to society. Who knows maybe one day it’ll be at the stage where I choose which takeaway I want to order via telepresence and then enjoy eating dinner with my friends over seas with out ever leaving home.