Monday, June 14, 2010

Mobile Live Video & Apple's FaceTime -- It's All About Spontaneity & Sharing "The Moment"

Apple's headline story for its new iPhone 4 -- Steve Jobs' recent "one more thing" moment -- was mobile live video calling via FaceTime.

Why did this announcement deserve such a grandiose pronouncement from the King of Technology? Why does mobile live video calling matter?

As I have written several times previously, it is because mobile live video calling is a game-changer. Yes, desktop live video chat and conferencing has been here for years -- including via my former company, SightSpeed (acquired by Logitech in 2008) -- but desktop video chat for consumers is largely a planned or scheduled event***. You want to video call far-flung family members or friends? Then you both need to be at your desk (or at least on your laptop), both be online, and both generally expecting each other's call.

Mobile live video calling is entirely different. It is all about spontaneity. It is all about living in the moment. It is not about planning at all. Why? Because your mobile phone is with you -- and all your family and friends -- at all times and wherever you are (it is "mobile", after all). In essence, it is always on. And, unlike desktop live video, live mobile video is not just about two-way video chat. It is also about one-way live "See What I'm Seeing." Wherever you are, whenever you are, now your friends and family can actually see and experience what you are seeing and experiencing ... and all in real-time! You're at the ball game? Show them! You're at the concert? Show them! You're at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Show them! You're at the grocery store and you're not sure which of two dog treats your spouse wants you to buy? Show them! You're out at an open house but your spouse couldn't make it and you wanted to walk them through the tour? Show them!

And, that's the point. That's why live mobile video calling and "See What I'm Seeing" represents a paradigm shift.

And, that's why it will be massive -- and just another part of our everyday lives sooner than you think.

And, once again, Apple will be at the core of bringing this experience into the mainstream -- that's why this was Jobs' most recent "one more thing" moment.

(***desktop live video chat/conferencing for business users is different than consumer live video chat -- unlike consumers, business users are frequently "at their desks" and available throughout the day, making it much more likely that spontaneous virtual face to face meetings are possible; scheduling is not needed nearly to the same extent.)