Video Calling Trend Adds A New Face To Social Networks

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Facebook Video Calling with Skype is attracting interest from all sides of the industry, including scammers

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Not A Threat To Enterprise Video

At Cisco, Ian Foddering, CTO for Cisco UK & Ireland, might be expected to shun this encroachment on the video conferencing space, an area that the company has been nurturing for some time. But, no, he sees it as a major development – for “consumers”.

“The launch of Facebook’s video chat is likely to be a key moment in the development of online consumer video,” he said. “While many consumers are already using video services online, it has up until now been predominantly based on the broadcast, one-to-many mechanism used by services such as YouTube and iPlayer. Facebook video chat and Google+ typifies how, driven by improvements in broadband speeds worldwide, we are now increasingly moving towards a many-to-many model where consumers can use video online to communicate as well as view content.”

Foddering predicts that the uptake of video chatting will put pressure on ISPs to improve their services. Cisco’s research has indicated that, by 2012, Internet video will make up more than half of all consumer Internet traffic. It also claimed that, by 2015, the amount of online video traffic crossing the web every month will be equivalent to more than three billion DVDs.

“These rising data volumes, combined with increasing demand for high definition video, will put huge pressure on ISPs to continue to invest and improve their network infrastructure – not just in terms of speed but also in overall quality of service,” he said. “When households have multiple video streaming activities taking place, for instance with parents watching iPlayer while the kids chat online using Facebook or Google+, these issues will become even more important and service providers will need to be able to provide the infrastructure to deliver these video services to consumers quickly and reliably – or risk losing out.”

Catching Up To Google+

Ovum’s Zoller does not view the Facebook versus Google+ war as an evenly tempered either/or situation.

“The Skype/Facebook video chat service is, without doubt, a blow to Google, which has just launched a similar video chat service called Hangout as part of its wider social network service, Google+. Google has been slow to make its mark on social media and was no doubt hoping Hangout would help give Google+ a leading edge. Facebook video chat service will undermine this,” she commented.

Video Calling may not be the “awesome” app that Facebook boss Zuckerberg (pictured) promised but it’s in its early days. The value of video chatting has yet to be evaluated and for most people a simple way to set up a group audio link would probably have sufficed.

Unless you have something to show, the use of video is probably a bit embarrassing and invasive for most people. It is fine for the occasional link to family who may live some distance away. It is still an unreal way to communicate because it is not like a face to face meeting – but maybe that is because it is still an alien medium which will take time to adapt to.

The great thing about Video Calling is that it will show where the channel fits into the communications world.

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