There is a distinct value to something that is user friendly. Take, for example, the manual transmission car. While some drivers love them for how the use of the clutch could save the driver fuel, most people shy away from them due to the frustration involved with braking, stopping on hills, changing gears and any other number of daily driving occurrences. Engines can die and gears can grind very easily if the switch between brake, gas, and clutch isn’t made in perfect timing. These days, stick-shift cars have gone somewhat out of style simple because they are harder to drive. Convenience, as usual, seems to have won out.
Fortunately, as the information age continues on, today’s cutting edge gear is becoming easier and easier for the everyman to own and operate. One of the true marvels of the 21st-century is probably the creation of the video call. More and more people are now able to see friends, colleagues, and loved ones in real time as they communicate over the Internet using their phones, tablets, or laptops. Even for those on the other side of the world, a phone call is not only affordable, it’s easy and convenient, often done from the comfort of home using a phone, tablet or laptop most of use every day. And what’s even better is the fact that you can see the other person’s face. Of course, there are a lot of components that go into making video chat so accessible. Let’s go over them.
SmartInsights reports that mobile devices, such as smartphones, have “overtaken” laptops in popularity. People of all ages and all walks of life can now carry in their pockets tiny devices equipped with speakers, a camera and microphone all on one sleek package. Furthermore, the price on said hardware continues to decrease as advancements and improvements are made. Only a few years back, it was necessary to purchase a separate microphone or headset in order to record quality audio on a computer. Now, the microphone built into a smart phone is just as competitive, allowing the recording of clear and easy to understand sound without any extra hardware. Gone are the days, even, of clunky, fragile, easy to knock over web cameras. Today’s smart phones, tablets, and laptops all contain the necessary broadcasting equipment billed directly into the device with no need for plug-ins. Video chat is now as easy as a click of a mouse or a tap on a touch screen, with little to no physical set up needed.
Of course, this remarkable hardware would not be usable without software. The variety of options available ensure that any user can find the perfect program to suit their needs, and many cellular devices come with their own programs built right in with no installation needed. Programs made for laptops usually come with other perks, such as a text chat option available during the call, file-sharing and even screen sharing, all of which make sharing pictures or spreadsheets as easy as a few clicks and drags. There are even some platforms, such as BlueJeans, that allow a cloud all-hands meeting to connect through different video chat programs and coexist in the same group call, enhancing accessibility. This means that a variety of people could be using a variety of different devices, running different kinds of software and still be able to communicate with each other seamlessly. This is exceptional, considering that many other forms of software on the market today can have issues sharing files with other programs, even when they’re programs from the same family.
But perhaps the most dramatic and vital advancement of all is the Internet itself. As Wi-Fi continues to become more and more accessible to more and more people, video conferencing and connections continue to become feasible, if not effortless. A steady network connection is possibly the most important part of any video conference call. Unreliable internet can mean dropped calls, flag, or failure to connect at all. Thankfully, there are a variety of different connection options available to today’s consumers. Wi-Fi or Ethernet are available in most cities for reasonable prices. Furthermore, cable and satellite Internet are also popular options, usually combining their services with TV or phone, and offer their services for those living in rural or residential areas who might not otherwise have access. Wi-Fi itself is so prevalent and affordable that an increasing number of business, such as Starbucks, will often offer the service for free to their customers. Even on the road, you can still stay connected to work and family alike.
All of these factors combine to truly make video chat the way of the future. Virtual meetings can be held involving members from across the world instantaneously, with no worries about travel expenses or jet lag. With near limitless options in hardware, software and internet access, connecting with friends, family or employees using video chat can often be as easy and pulling out your phone and tapping to connect.