When Danny Canal starts to speak, conversations at other café tables around him fall silent. Canal, a young man in his early twenties, is doing something that looks almost like magic — he’s talking on the phone without even opening his mouth… Canal, a shipbuilding student from Hamburg, is deaf and he’s currently experiencing a revelation. Since he communicates with his friends mostly in sign language, until recently he didn’t have much use for mobile phones, unless it was for sending text messages.
Even the most skeptical are starting to recognize the magic of video interactions. Grandparents play with faraway grandchildren; divorced fathers do homework with kids who live with their mothers; long-distance couples check in before they go to bed, read to each other or fall asleep with their laptops next to them on the bed.
We’re still not quite at a utopian moment for video calling and video conferencing, but we’ve clearly crossed a chasm. Video calling as a technology is (almost) getting boring, which means for society its about to get interesting.
Of course, as this article highlights, we shouldn’t underplay the importance of technology convergence – such as the Internet, mobile networks, mobile computing and software, like Skype and FaceTime. This explains why its taken more than 70 years for video calling to get anyway near going mainstream.
Hat tip to the Putting People First blog.