Applications like Skype (News - Alert) Mobile and FaceTime on the iPhone 4 allow users to video conference one another using their mobile devices, but now, video conferencing allows users to talk to more than just one person using mobile video.
Fring, is now offering a group video conferencing application in what many are referring to as “Brady Bunch Style.”
Here’s a story, about an application, that allows you to conference four friends at a time…
You may be asking yourself, what the…? but I’m sure the phrase alone gave you the perfect mental image to describe this new app. That’s right, you can video conference not one, or two, but up to four users at once on your mobile device. The new application is now available for download on iPhone and Android (News - Alert)-based devices.
Sounds pretty cool, but it raises a couple of interesting questions… Here’s my take on the new mobile video conferencing application.
What will users primarily use it for, business or pleasure?
Honestly, I can see the target audience for this conferencing app being split 50/50 between professional and personal users. For business who provide their employees with company mobile devices, taking advantage of being able to conference more than one person at a time is ideal. And since the app can be deployed over any iPhone (News - Alert) or Android device, it makes it easier to connect with co-workers or partners externally who may be working on different devices.
For personal use, I would imagine this application would be popular among younger generations. Teens today communicate using video chats online already, so this could be a fun alternative using their mobile devices. The application can also be utilized for people who want to stay in touch and communicate at the same time, whether with college roommates or family members across the country wanting to catch up on holidays.
Will mobile video calling become the new standard for mobile communications?
With the advent of mobile video calling, critics are questioning whether mobile users will be inclined to use video communications as opposed to voice only. In my opinion, I think mobile video chat is still too early in its stages for it to surpass regular voice calling. However, applications like Fring’s are definitely paving the way for the future of video calling for years to come.
Will device makers begin implementing mobile video conferencing into their devices? Is it worth the investment?
Unfortunately, I do not believe that group video conferencing is going to be something that will become as common as call-waiting offerings on a cell phone. However, I think that if applications like Fring become successful enough, many more applications like it will soon follow.
A recent report suggests that web conferencing passes the test on tablets but smartphones fail to impress. According to the report, the iPad is the only touch device to support full-fledged web conferencing functionality, while smartphones’ small screens create obstacles to online interaction. The report recommends eight mobile conferencing applications that work best for the iPad, and others that aren’t as successful, further suggesting that that mobile web conferencing is still in its infancy.
The full gamut of web conferencing functionality, including transferring control of the mouse and keyboard, changing presenters, accessing a variety of applications, and collaborating on documents in real-time, is currently not available on touch devices – not even on the iPad. In fact, current services could be described as “look, but don’t touch”. Like any new offering in its beginning stages, there are bound to be ups and downs, glitches and advantages and disadvantages, but it should be interesting to see how mobile video conferencing makes its mark in the world of mobile applications.
Stefanie Mosca is a Web editor for TMCnet. Previously she worked as a freelance copy editor for Digital Surgeons LLC. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves