Skype lives up to its hype

March 18, 2008 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

Helena Bouchez

Anyone who knows me understands that I’m a tech head and early adopter. My most recent technological foray: Skype, a program that allows you to make free calls (and video calls) over the Internet (when both parties use the program). This is accomplished by “voice-over-IP” or VOIP technology. (VIOP enables sound to be transmitted over the Internet, similar to a phone line.)

I use the term early adopter loosely; a friend prodded me to get with it so we could video chat. So I went and bought (another) headset and Web cam, and downloaded the software and installed it on my computer. It took a few minutes to get the Skype video calling working (the video part’s a little tricky), but once everything was operational, it was pretty amazing. (I still have to get Skype competitor ooVoo’s stuff working (not their fault); once I do, we’ll do a bake-off between the two.)

Video chatting is a much more personal and dynamic experience than a straight audio call because you have the additional layer of information received by being able to see people’s expressions when they talk. It’s not like being in the same room; it’s more like being on TV together.

As I was chatting with my friend, I couldn’t help think about potential applications and implications for business. Video conferencing technology has been around for years, but it’s expensive and cumbersome. To initiate a video conference with Skype (or ooVoo) requires each individual’s computer to be set up with the software, along with a headset (or microphone and speakers) and Web cam. And then, with very little effort, marketers could arrange a moderated panel discussion of experts from offices around the world and invite clients to attend. The panel discussion of experts from offices around the world and invite clients to attend. The session could also be recorded and then posted on their Web site as a Podcast or V-cast.

Curious? I hope so. Want to try it? Good. Go get an inexpensive headset and Web cam. Can’t find anyone to try it with? Email me at hbouchez at hodgeschindler.com and I’ll give you my Skype ID.

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Entry filed under: Business Development, Diabloguer, New/Social Media.

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