Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Video Chat Makes Family Closer

Years ago we were promised a day of flying cars, automatic meal makers and video phones.  While cars still keep their wheels on the ground for the most part and free delivery is the closest we've gotten to meals that we don't have to make, video phones in the form of online video chat have been around for a long time.

So far I've used this blog to inform about the way technology can enhance your business or organization's goals, but today I want to talk about one of the ways that it can also bring families closer together.

Many people tried video chat when it first came out and realized that it was video with poor resolution that skipped and sputtered around.  USB video cameras were tricky to get working. More time was spent trying to get the software to work at all (and then make sure it was still working every 10 seconds) than to actually enjoying a conversation.

That has changed over time.  Most laptops, tablets and phones come with cameras built in and ready to go.  Bandwidth increased by internet service providers make the video, well, not crystal clear by any stretch, but at an acceptable quality.  And thanks to online services that make the process of setting up and connecting with other video chat users easy, the experience should be a lot better this time around.

Whether you use Skype, Google Hangouts or some other service, all the tools are right there for you.  And if you have friends and relatives who live far away that you don't get to see too often, it's a good way to catch up and feel a little more connected than with just a phone call, email, Facebook message or Tweet.

If you're like me, with a new baby and family members who live across the country, video chatting can let them share in the experience of watching your child grow.  So while our cars can't fly above traffic jams and we still have to cook our own meals, my wife's 80 year old mother in Texas can Skype with our 6 month old daughter here in NJ.

It's a start.