You have to love those Apple iPhone FaceTime ads on TV. They set up how mobile video conferencing can be so emotionally appealing: the grandparents get to see the new grandbaby from afar, the husband in the military gets to sweet talk and see his wife while on active duty, and the female shows off her new clothes to her friends. These are absolutely wonderful ways in which to use mobile video conferencing that means a lot more than just talking or sharing a photo taken with the phone.
But there's the counterexample that reminds us to consider when it's appropriate (or not) to use mobile video conferencing: someone hears their phone ring and answers it when just coming out of the shower, accidentally leaving the video sharing turned on. Ah oh. Not a good idea. Embarrassing for everyone.
Mobile video conferencing is going to get a lot more popular for consumers as well as in the enterprise. The technology is finally getting good enough that you could consider having a video phone call just about any time and anyplace. Here's what you need to know about mobile video conferencing so you can take advantage of the benefits.
For consumers who own a smartphone, making a video call with someone else will become a standard feature within the next few years. You'll be able to make a call just as you do now and then elect to "go video" much in the same way Skype works. The person on the other end should always have the right and technical capability to accept or reject the request to open a video link.
While FaceTime appears to be restricted to Apple's walled garden, Skype and others will enable mobile video calling on most mobile devices. I believe that FaceTime will get more use when Apple adds a camera to their next version of the iPad. Skype already works in text and nonvideo talking mode on this and other mobile devices. I hope the industry will develop open standards that even Apple can support to enable any mobile device to conduct a video call with someone else.