I can recall a few years back when I had just learned that China and various other countries were fortunate enough to have video calling by way of mobile. I thought it was an amazing innovation and was upset that we didn't have it here in the US. Now that it's here, is actually using it plausible? Not in most cases. The primary function of FaceTime or Fring comes down to being a novelty toy for show-and-tell. I am aware of it having some benefits over voice calling, but it is a luxury in almost every way.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing video calling by any means. I have chatted with a few friends via webcam. It's nice and all, but I don't see myself wanting to do it very often and especially not from my phone. Quite honestly, I don't even like voice calling unless absolutely necessary. There are only two serious situations that I could see a viable use for people video calling. If a significant other is away on an extended business trip or if close family lives across the country, you can video call and see those heart-warming faces of your loved ones. The second situation is probably the most important and could potentially be a irreplacable tool for those who are unable to hear. I know of a deaf person that uses their phone solely for text messaging. Before text messaging, having a cell phone would be completely useless to them. With video calling, it could speed up conversations (if call quality is high enough and without lag), and offer over-the-air sign language. For instance, there is no beneficial way for a hearing impared person to contact their carrier via phone for technical support. If video calling can be marketed the right way, a deaf person will have no problem calling into a designated video chat number and having a translator help them with any issue at hand.
On the other hand, with video calling being introduced and "sexting" on an exponential climb, you can expect explicit conversations via video to become another major problem for parents to deal with. There are already "sex-viding" options, which are basically adult video chatting hotlines via mobile. It isn't a huge issue, as adults have the right to do whatever they please with their phones (within reason), and it's at their discretion whether or not their children have a phone capable of video calling or not. Things like this could mean less parents allowing their kids to own cell phones, specifically smartphones. If they are unaware of the dangers though, there is nothing that can really be done. Another problem I see with video calling is the more available it becomes, the more people are going to want to look "their best" (you know you do) before even making a simple phone call. In today's mobile world, people typically text for casual converstaions and call for time-sensitive issues. Video calling would fall somewhere between the two, but be counter-productive by people having to "fix themselves" prior to a simple call. Not only this, but as I previously mentioned, I dislike video chatting and talking on the phone unless I have to. If people start randomly video calling (I always answer my phone, no matter what), I'm going to be one angry dude.
All in all, I can definitely see where video calling could potentially be beneficial for some people in need, but for an everyday purpose it's practically another knick-knack you can show off at your company Christmas party this year. Does anyone actually use video calling on a day-to-day basis, or for anything other than showing it off? If so, sound off below, I'd love to hear any input on the issue!
Image via Engadget