#2 – Video call
In 2011, mobile video calling will finally take off – but not through the 3GPP video call standard
Although mobile video services were launched approximately ten years ago, a hopeless user interface on handsets at the time, coupled with high prices and inadequate network bandwidth meant they were set up to fail. Today, that has changed and the latest devices, including most notably the iPhone 4, now boasts impressive face-facing cameras, a large high-res display and interactive applications that can switch between a standard voice call and a WiFi-enabled video call by the touch of a screen. Note that Apple reversed a recent trend of not equipping 3G phones with front cameras. Can these improvements finally prove the use case for mobile video calling?
Northstream thinks so. Despite just 1% of existing 3G calls being video enabled, Skype claims that its share of video calls stands at 40% of total customer interactions. This proves that an attractive market for video calling potentially exists. Furthermore, the number of video call enabled Apple devices alone is set to exceed 100 million over the next twelve months with equivalent applications from the likes of Tango and fring also expected to take off. Cisco is likely to launch a consumer version of its video conferencing system. On the mobile side, as the call is made either through WiFi or your unlimited data rate plan –there is no cost threshold hampering usage.
These new mobile video calling solutions are attractive, perform well with crisp clear pictures and sound great too – it is now actually possible to switch between voice and video smoothly without hanging up. Next generation iPads and other tablets will further enhance and stimulate the mobile video calling experience by replicating the larger screen desktop/laptop currently on offer from the likes of Skype. Northstream predicts that Apple and its peers are about to achieve in one year what 3G operators have failed to do in 10. 2011 is the year that mobile video calling finally takes off – and it will have nothing to do with 3GPP video standards.