PC World: Video Calling is Finally Catching On

There is a dictum we use to sum up the major belief that drives all that we do at TokBox: Face to face is the future of the web.

In 2007, the company’s emphasis was very much on ‘the future’. Skype hadn’t yet moved into the mainstream.  FaceTime did not exist – in fact, the first iPhone hadn’t yet been released.  And yet, the TokBox team had a fundamental understanding that the way we communicate online would become more human, and that face to face was the most human form of communication possible over the web.

Over the years since, there have been many moments of validation for our point of view:  the growth of video conferencing, the launch and popularity of the OpenTok platform, the significant and ongoing growth in the number of size of organizations using OpenTok.

This week I read with great interest a PC World article announcing that Video Calling is Finally Catching On.  It’s an excellent piece, based on an NPD In-Stat report titled “Video Calling Across Screen Types: PC, Mobile, and Living Room,” which predicts “that the number of people using video calling on a regular basis will grow from 63 million in 2010 to more than 380 million by 2015.”

For those of us who have long believed ‘video calling’ is just the beginning of ‘face-to-face’, it was gratifying to read NPD In-Stat’s comment that “integration with other applications, particularly social networking, will be a significant market driver.”

It is this ‘beyond calling’ where things get really exciting.

Without doubt more people are (as PC World puts it) “connecting face-to-face rather than just ear-to-ear” but video is much more than replacing a phone call. We are seeing it replace doctors visits, AA meetings, interviews, emails, conferences, contractor management visits, classrooms, poker games, dates… and the list goes on.

This is just one report but it resonates with what we have been experiencing over the past 6-12 months in particular. Face to face is growing at unprecedented rates. No longer is face-to-face on its way, increasingly it is here right now.

Perhaps we should think about removing ‘the future’ from our dictum.