Ever since AT&T introduced the Picturephone at the Worlds Fair in 1964, the world in general and the communication industry in particular have been searching for a term that aptly describes the usage of video in a telephone call. Terms like Picture phone, Videophone & Visiophone were used in the early years but never caught on with the public or business until the technology of group based video calling dubbed as video conferencing, a takeoff on it’s ancestral cousin: audio conferencing.
Today video conferencing (or videoconferencing for those who are not fan of the space) has become an umbrella term to describe all types of video based communication. This can be video chat between two or more people from laptops, a point to point call using sophisticated systems found in conference rooms, calls between two phones reminiscent of the original picture phone or multi-party calls similar to audio conferencing. The experience can vary from ‘almost being there’ to worse than what NASA transmitted from the moon.
With the wide adoption of Skype in the consumer market, it is not surprising that more and more company networks are finding Skype to also be a valuable tool for communication, But one hurdle that seems to confound many IT departments is the “is Skype secure?” question. In short the answer is “yes”. It is, in a few ways. Let me try and explain.
If we ever expect video to become the default medium for our meetings we have to give the people what they want… a care-free solution.
When you were making a phone call, have you ever worried about what kind of phone the other person had? Did it ever cross your mind that their phone might not be compatible with yours? Of course not!
The beauty of today’s public switched telephony network (PSTN) is that it just works. It’s interoperable. You pick up a phone, dial a ten digit number, and make the call. It doesn’t matter if you are on a wired or wireless network, or if you are on an iPhone, a desk phone, or even a payphone (if you can still find one…).
Traditional video conferencing, on the other hand has been plagued by worries, putting tremendous pressure on the meeting organizer and IT staff. Lack of interoperability is frequently cited as the primary reason why traditional video conferencing has not propagated more widely (…followed , of course, by cost and complexity).
An amazing thing happened yesterday as we put the final touches on our new website (and the launch of this blog). The world began to talk openly about the elephant in the video conferencing room - the need for interoperability.
Cisco exec Marthin De Beer said it best in his blog posted titled: Video to Video Communication is the Future - Imagine how difficult it would be if you were limited to calling people who only use the same carrier or if your phone could only call certain brands and not others. We could not agree more (Watch about us video)!