by Joseph Weisenthal

Firm Finally Gets Around To Lowering Forecasts For Video Calling

from the took-long-enough dept

Despite the fact that people have never been interested in video calling, and there's no evidence that anyone will ever care for it, some analysts are just starting to realize it may not live up to its hype. Research firm Strategy Analytics is sharply lowering their estimates for the business, though still predicting that by the year 2010 the area will generate $4 billion for carriers. The firm hedges their statement by arguing that carriers need to price this service "competitively", which sounds like analyst codeword for "give it away for free and use it as a customer retention tool". Naturally, their reasons for thinking it will grow include 3G uptake and cheaper video, but none of this would seem to matter if customers don't need to see the person they're talking to (or don't want to be seen by them). Firms like Strategy Analytics could avoid these mistakes by taking a more skeptical look at technology, though their clients would just go elsewhere to find some number that back up their plans.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    ScottMGS, May 5th, 2006 @ 12:56pm

    I don't know...

    A lot of people are buying webcams.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    yossi, May 5th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    i would get it

    Even though most of the time I dont want to be seen, sometimes I do. Like when talking to my baby brother, who would never recognize me otherwise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    anonymous coward, May 5th, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    i love to show people my pee pee!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Scott, May 5th, 2006 @ 2:05pm

    I think it is useful

    I use my webcam to connect with friends and family that I can not see because of distance, and now even skype has webcam ability for your calls. It's not something that people would want to use ALL the time, but i'm sure people would be interested in it so long as there was not a premium price attached to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Mike, May 5th, 2006 @ 4:58pm

    This is a really short sited analysis

    So the uptake of video calling has been slow? Ofcourse that can't be because it has not once been available universally... no ofcourse not. Since the extremely fragmented and and overpriced video calling has gone nowhere obviously no one likes the idea of video calling right? WRONG There are two voip video phone services that I know of one is Packet8's service and one is the motorola OJO. I say there are two that I know of because there could be plenty that I don't know of. Which is proof that it isn't lack of interest its lack of marketing. Of the two that I do know of I don't know of any plans to make them work together. The problem isn't lack of interest its lack of interest in something that is generally useless unless you can get someone else to pay the 400 dollars for the same thing and then worry that another person might like the other service better. To be honest I'm amazed at the short sited nature of this post and sickened

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Mike (profile), May 5th, 2006 @ 5:51pm

    Re: This is a really short sited analysis

    Look at the history of videophones. They've been offered on and off for FORTY years. And they've never had more than a handful of users. Time after time, when asked, people have said they don't use phones to see each other, and don't like the idea of being seen.

    So, forgive us for saying that perhaps it pays to wait for a little more evidence that people care -- because all the evidence we've seen says there's very little interest.

    In the meantime, "sickened" seems like a pretty strong word. I can understand disagreeing and believing we're wrong... but sickened is quite a response.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Mike, May 6th, 2006 @ 10:11pm

    Well I said "sickened" because it just seems rediculous to ignore the fact that every time video phone service has been offered its been a crappy fragmented mess. If you need proof that people want video phones look at the use of video conferencing with loved ones in foreign countries. There are plenty of people that want to do it but most people don't know how some don't even know its possible dispite the availability of plenty of options. Also when you say people don't want to be seen thats just looking at it as telephone. I'm sure there are plenty of families that would love to be able to share their news baby through the television but first they've got to buy the (at the least) 200 dollar video camera then everyone they want to show the baby to has to aswell, and that video conferencer that hooks up to your tv doesn't work with the cool telephone that packet 8 offers or yahoo IMs. I just think its really short sited to look at this fragmented and still infant technolodgy, please don't refer to the old EXTEREMELY EXPENSIVE solutions to try to refute the infancy claim, just because people "don't want it". People don't want what they can't use easily. People didn't want computers for a long time not did people want cars.

    I say it sickens me because its really short sited especially for someone using a blog to get their point across.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Mike (profile), May 7th, 2006 @ 12:16am


    As with any innovation, there's always the chance that someone will get it right in the future. We don't deny that. However, we would think that it would need a little more proof before it makes sense to predict such huge numbers of users.

    The history of failures suggests that there NEEDS to be a breakthrough, and it hasn't happened yet. So our analysis is pretty clear that unless there's a real breathrough we don't believe it's going to catch on, and we have history on our side.

    In the meantime, I still think sickened is a strong response, and I have no idea the fact that "using a blog to get a point across" makes any difference at all. Please explain what that has to do with anything?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Mike, May 7th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    The blog comment came from the fact that bloggin was once and obscure technolodgy no one knew about. Although blogs had an explosive growth due to (I would think) them being free to most users. I agree with your previous comment. The only thing I did't agree with is saying no one wants it and it not going anywhere is proof of that. Because it simply can't be proven.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Mike (profile), May 7th, 2006 @ 10:06am


    The only thing I did't agree with is saying no one wants it and it not going anywhere is proof of that. Because it simply can't be proven.

    The point we were making was simply this: over the past 40 years, it seems like every year some analyst firm comes out with a prediction that videophoning is about to be huge. And every year they're absolutely wrong. There also have been studies showing that most people just aren't that interested in videophoning to talk to most people. There are times when it might make sense, but it's just not worth paying anything extra for. So we felt that it was a bit silly for yet another analyst firm to claim that it was about to be huge, when there was no evidence that anything had changed.

    Again, I don't see why that's worth sickening anyone. If you should be sickened by anyone, it's the analyst firms who keep predicting it will be huge, based on absolutely nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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