The concept of communication anywhere with full video (sometimes holographic and 3D) and audio has long been a science-fiction staple. Like so many other science-fiction staples, the advances of new technology are making that dream a reality. No word yet on the Holodeck.
Image via CrunchBase
The advances in video-chat, and the prospects for the reality of that particular science-fiction, are rooted in two things. One is the proliferation of the Internet and in particular high-speed access to it. With that access and increased speed come sites like Skype, which offer not only video-chat service with almost limitless potential, but free video-chat service with almost limitless potential. As such, while the cost of a phone call can remain high, especially overseas, anyone with a good Internet connection can use Skype.
Image by Steve Rhode via Flickr
The other hope for easy and prolific video-chat is the abundance of smart-phones. Phone technology has advanced to the point where people are carrying around powerful computers in their pocket; it seems only a matter of time before phones replace the personal computer entirely. Phones’ access to the Internet means people potentially can make calls through their phone on the Internet, without using the traditional phone service. How ironic. Advances in 3D video technology means holographic video might not be that far off, and there’s no doubt it’ll be on a phone.
Video-chat technology currently is not perfect – anyone who has used Skype or the other services can attest to the occasional delay in response (known as “lag”). Then again, current cell phone audio quality is pretty low and people put up with that. The resolution of both issues is likely only a matter of time and further advancement.