This past Monday evening my daughter and I had dinner ‘together’, complete with cooking our respective dinners simultaneously and then sitting down and enjoying our meals, talking and listening to one another. We were just separated by a screen and 1,000 miles. It was bar-none the best experience I’ve ever had video chatting. The pan-ability of the Facebook Portal device (140 degree field of vision) is good for now and affords a very natural way to interact with someone without holding a phone or having to stand in front of a static camera (as other devices from Google and Amazon). I can’t wait to do it again with her and other members of my family who don’t live close enough to visit regularly.
To be able to use Facebook Portal to talk and watch, and listen with someone you are not able to see as much as you’d like is still a substitute for being there in person but it’s so vastly different (and in my opinion better) than FaceTime or a phone call. As mentioned before because of the camera we were each able to cook and then sit at our tables in our own kitchens while still chatting. The field of vision is not just of your face but of the entire area around you. It’s a much fuller, more realized experience, really almost like actually being there as compared to the small/focused view of just a face using FaceTime or a desktop camera. And you think you need to yell to be heard but you really don’t need to. It takes a little acclimation.
For my work I’ve been a subscriber to Zoom.us for business video chatting for almost two years but hadn’t used it all that much. This year I did promise myself to use video chatting for business on a regular basis. Our company has clients all over the place and the ability to ‘see’ the people behind the voices at the other end of the phone far surpasses the experience of a conference call.
I understand I am may be a bit late to the video chat party as many companies have video calls and meetings as a regular part of their daily workday or workweek. But overall adoption of video calling has been slow to gain momentum for a variety of reasons both technological and behavioral as there are people who would rather NOT be viewed during a phone call out of old habits. I do wonder about all that data required to handle video chatting. Worldwide 5G can’t come soon enough.
There are all kinds of ways to engender video calling in the professional world including Google Hangouts, which BTW is free. The utility provided by companies like Zoom include the ability to record meetings (but you still should tell people that you are recording the meeting), send and confirm invitations and the ability to have many people be a part of a call. All I can tell you – video calling is better.