Skype

No One Wants to See Your Face --- The Slow Adoption of Video Conferencing

I remember a million years ago when Skype was released to the masses.

I remember the initial excitement over Rogers video calling via smart phone.

I remember being super keen to try Facetime.

I remember the grand reveal of business video conferencing rooms.

Every device I have has a video camera. Every computer, every smart phone, every tablet. Why is it that video chats, and vide conferences have had such a slow adoption rate? Any google search on slow adoption of video conferencing will point to a myriad of issues. User in-experience with the technology, high cost of set up (in a business environment), discomfort with the camera, the inability to look into someone else's eyes...... Despite the fact that video conferencing has been around (in some form or another) for over 85 years, it's the least adopted technology by far. According to Forbes Magazine, only 20% of the population has used it.

I spend between 4 and 6 hours on the phone a day. I could easily be spending that same amount of time in front of a web cam, having the same discussions. But I'm not. I'd be hard pressed to find a concrete reason for this aside from the following:

  • I generally don't get *gussied up* when I work from home. A mascara-free Julie is not someone you want to spend an hour with on a video chat
  • I walk around a lot.
  • I multitask

Those three little issues are what's holding me back from the video chat.

Do you use video? For work? For fun?

I think it will be the folks who use video tools in their personal lives who will push the business community into using it more. After all, it's likely more engaging, builds better relationships and increases productivity. Still --- in my head, I'm not ready for that next step. :-D

Building Personalization, One Number at a Time

Everyone wants to feel special, unique, catered to. No one wants to feel like one of the great unwashed masses…

Businesses and retailers are just starting to nibble on the idea of customer personalization. Imagine, you have your own direct line to your salon. You call, they know who you are, what you like and more than likely, what you want. The same could be said for a myriad of services. Dentists, lawyers, accountants, mechanics…. Call centre technology pushed to the premise.

How about taking it a step further —- personalized toll free numbers anyone? Damn sight better than a calling card, especially for the kids at college…. (I know, Skype them, but with Skype not yet offering DID service in Canada, that’s tricky when you have to convince your parents to get Skypified, and be on the computer at the SAME TIME.) For less technified parents, get a 1-800 number and give it to your kids. They call you. You pay. You don’t have to give out your calling card number for them to (inadvertently) call Romania. I love Romania, don’t get me wrong, but the price per minute from Canada to Romania is almost the same as tuition at a Canadian university.

I’ve got a personalized Starbucks card. It’s got me, in caricature, on the front. I’d love a more personalized credit card. Yes, I’d likely pay a few bucks for it, or it should be included with the *annual fee*. I want a personalized Debit card, that should be easy too.

:-)

What do you want personalized?

 

Canada Gets the Cold Shoulder by Voice Apps

A few years ago I was mesmerized by the idea of Grandcentral coming to Canada, but then all went quiet… Shortly thereafter, Grandcentral was purchased by Google, and boy! For sure they will expand to Canada now!

Grandcentral became Google Voice, and in the past few months Google Voice has come back into the limelight, but still no love for Canada.

Skype could have been a contender, with its SkypeOut capabilities. Still, no maple leafs for Skype.

Why are global providers deciding to leave Canada on the backburner? We can blame the recession for a certain amount of hesitation on the lack of movement, but the biggest trick is that it’s expensive to open up a *free* voice service in Canada. Even if there’s a monthy service fee, our carriers aren’t yet really ready to push IP to the PSTN. Carriers aren’t all that keen to give away market share at rock bottom prices, and for Google or Skype to try and build their own networks, the geography and addressable market for the service isn’t all that lucrative.

Canadians interested in next gen voice apps are going to have to sit tight, consider a foreign phone number, or even a change of address. ;-)

It’s not going to be until the CRTC changes foreign ownership and competitive influences that there will be changes driven into the way technologies are delivered to the consumer. It’s an eventuality, perhaps even in my lifetime.