Thursday, October 12, 2006

Video Calling Already (but Quietly) is "Core" and Widely Used

I sat today on a panel titled "After VoIP is Video" at the Internet Telephony Expo in San Diego hosted by uber-blogger (and now I am pleased to say, vlogger) Andy Abramson. Joining me on the panel were experts Ken Camp (a newly converted vlogger extraordinaire) and Jeff Bonforte of Yahoo!

A key "take-away" from our discussions was how video and voice over IP communications (some call it "VVoIP", but think of it simply as video calling) already is a core and fundamental element of all real-time communications services (IM, chat, whatever you want to call it). But, perhaps most surprising to some, is how widely used video calling is amongst consumers as well as in the SMB/enterprise market.

As examples, Jeff Bonforte indicated that 20-30% of Yahoo! Messenger's millions of users actively engage in video "chat." And, MSN recently reported that MSN Messenger users alone make 10 million video calls on a daily basis -- yes, 10 million video calls a day! Those numbers surprised even the experts on our panel.

What does this mean? It certainly means that IP-based video calling has moved way beyond "early adopter" stuff. Rather, almost "quietly," video calling and video interaction have become mainstream behavior both for consumers and the SMB/enterprise markets and the pace of growth is accelerating. Imagine the pace of growth as the video calling experience expands beyond the desktop/laptop, enters the living room on the big screen, and moves onto mobile devices -- all of which already are happening.

In my post yesterday, I discussed how video calling and interaction are poised to revolutionize the social networking space (in addition to core communications services). I asked everyone on the panel today if each of them agreed. The answer was a unanimous and resounding "Yes."

No question about it -- Andy Abramson's panel today was aptly titled, "After Voice is Video."

We are only seeing the beginnings here ... stay tuned ....