In the 90s and 80s video calling was assumed to be the eventual successor to the telephone. If TV is an upgrade from radio, the logic follows that video calling must be better than voice calls.
That isn't quite the way technology has evolved, however. Video calling through PCs or even video game consoles is easier than ever and even mobile device are now capable of great-quality video calling on-the-go. What futurists overlooked is just how much more work goes into face-to-face interactions and how much more efficient short text messages are at conveying the small bits of information humans exchange every day.
Market research firm Juniper Research today released a new report predicting that mobile video calling services in particular will see their users increase to over 130 million by the year 2018. This marks a small increase in mobile video calling compared to the over one billion smartphones that are now being sold each year.
According to Juniper the current state of the mobile video calling market is throwing into question the entire industry's ability to monetize such calls. The report states that only a very small number of users actually pay for video calling and that new free video calling solutions are undermining traditional pricing and revenue for mobile calls. The solution, according to the firm, is to offer a broader array of services and apps that can be monetized.
“The role of mobile video calling is becoming clearer,” said Anthony Cox, author of the report and an associate analyst at Juniper. “With a number of OTT players having gained a critical mass of users through the provision of free video services, those players are now introducing an array of premium products or creating revenue-share partnerships to create a viable revenue stream.”