Don’t you think that something is missing, when you make a voice call on a mobile phone to your beloved ones? Aren’t you failing to convey your emotions or sense the feelings of the person on the other end, just because only your voice is getting transferred? I’m sure, may be in some of the occasions you might felt so. But with a 3G network connection, 3G-enabled handset with a video calling camera, or a Wi-Fi handset with video chat client installed on both ends, you can make your communication downright with the exchange of facial expressions!
Video calling -The history
Just two years after the invention of telephone in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, the concept of videophone came on the forefront. Actually, the concept of combined videophone and wide-screen television called a telephonoscope was conceptualized. The evidence could be witnessed from one such sketch published in Punch Magazine in December 9, 1878. In 1878, a French writer and publisher Louis Figuier written under the title ‘Electrician’, that "an eminent scientist" had invented a device whereby objects or people anywhere in the world "....could be seen anywhere by anybody". However, Alexander Graham Bell In April 1891 actually record conceptual notes on an 'electrical radiophone', which discussed "....the possibility of seeing by electricity".
During the technological sunrise, video telephony included image phone, which could exchange still images between every few seconds. The world’s first public video telephone service was developed in 1936 Dr. Georg Schubert. The service trial linked Berlin to Nuremberg, Munich, and Hamburg in Germany with terminal integration within public telephone booths. The term ‘videophone’ entered into general use after 1950.
After the creation of software for data encoding and compression via video coding and decoding algorithms, known as codecs in 1972, the video telephony accelerated its pace.
Intellect, a prototype wireless videophone developed by Daniel A. Henderson in 1993, which featured still image and non-live video clip transfer, was the first wireless device to support video call feature. The Intellect was a cell phone handset with a large black and white display that could show still images and video clips downloaded remotely from a computer via a wireless transmitter. The concept was later deployed with the common camera phones released in the early 2000s.
Advancement of mobility, which makes mobile phone capable for voice communication and delivering multimedia contents over Internet Protocol, has added wings to mobile voice calling trend. 3G video call requires both parties involved in call to have a 3G-enabled handset with a front camera- preferably, both parties should be in 3G network coverage, and of course both parties should have subscribed 3G mobile service.
Some video chat apps
Till date, video calling on mobile phones has been quite an average experience. But a tiny camera on iOS loaded iPhone will give you a huge video calling experience with FaceTime app. Besides video calling, the app is featured with options to text, call, or e-mail. FaceTime lets you see what everyone is up to no matters which device they are using (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Mac). The app was coined by the Apple God, Steve Jobs on June 7, 2010.
FaceTime users witnessed great call quality. The users are happy as they are not experiencing dropped calls, leggy signals, or out-of-sync video and audio. The high quality video call experience with FaceTime undoubtedly attributed to its capacity to work on Wi-Fi only. However the inability of FaceTime to work on data network can leave it behind in the race as other players such as Google Chat, Fring, ooVoo, and Skype work over 3G and 4G data networks as well as Wi-Fi. The second major drawback is that the FaceTime app is only for fourth generation (iOS 4 and above) Apple devices. However, it is the best app for Apple users looking to make video calls to other Apple users. It does very well with cleanest video quality and superior audio quality. And obviously, there is no exaggeration in quoting that video-calling on the iPhone fly and on other phones crawl!
Useful social impacts of video call:
· Video calls are truly very helpful for deaf ad speech-impaired populace. They can easily communicate with sign language and video relay service (sign language interpreter).
· The service is useful during medical urgencies. Tele-medical trend will pace up with improvement in video call service.
· It can be utilized as a great tool for distance education. With tele-education services, students can be highly benefitted.
Video calling was much hyped, when telecom operators rolled-out 3G services in India. Subsequently, we got to see so many advertisements connecting to video call. Side by side, users were also bringing the expediency of video call though VoIP clients like Fring and Skype. Despite all these, my eyes are still longing to see people actually making video call to another mobile user. What I feel the trend of video calling is still limited to journos, who are trying the service to review various video calling apps!