Published on January 5th, 2011 | by Babar Bhatti3
Tech Trends: Has Video Calling Technology Become Mainstream?
This is a series in which we will talk about industry trends and upcoming technologies.
One of the big push by technology companies is to offer more communication and digital services on TV. Expect to hear more mentions of Internet enabled TVs and all the new things that you will be able to do. A number of companies already play in that space, from hardware companies (TV makers) to software/services (Google, Netflix etc). Services include things like controlling your TV using web-enabled phone. In this post we will focus on personal video conferencing on TV. That is, using your TV and broadband connection to conduct video chats.
In October of 2010, Cisco released a product for video calling named Umi. Here’s how it works: you buy the hardware (a box and camera, around $600), hook it up with your TV and broadband (Verizon FIOS is a partner) and you are ready for video calls. There is a service fee of $25 per month. Obviously, the price and setup is still not at a level where it will become a common household item. But it is a good first step to bring video calling to home.
This will be one of the products marketed at Consumer Electronics Show later this week. You can read all about it at Cisco’s website (click on the image below).