Looks like the rumors of the past 4 months are true: Cisco and Verizon are teaming up to bring Video Chat to your living room TV. (They’ve been collaborating for small business video solutions for the past 2 or 3 years. ) According to the SJMerc News this new CE direction is necessary because Cisco can’t sell enough of its high end Telepresence® gear to its business customers.
A New Telco Revenue Source? While I applaud Verizon for looking into new and exciting applications for their subscriber base, I wonder if this is just another video phone pipe dream? According to Wikipedia, the idea was first conceived in 1878! And where are all of the AT&T Picturephones® that were going to make telephones obsolete in 1974? The Nokia N Series phones have had video chat features built in for the past few years, but the feature is inoperable in the US market.
What Will Drive The Consumer Demand? In business the desire to have a virtual face to face meeting makes sense to cut travel expenses. Having experienced Telepresence® myself, I must admit, Cisco has done a great job to improve the overall experience. However, the reason Cisco is said to be looking for a new market is because those business customers are not buying. Can a market be sustained after all of the early adopters buy one (or 2) and the novelty wears thin?
The Telmex Experience: Verizon marketeers may want to visit Telmex and get some first hand data from their video phone launch in 2005. According to Jos Otero, president of Signals Telecom Consulting:
“If you asked me if this new service [for Telmex] is going to be good in terms of marketing and positioning… I’d say yes. But if you asked me is it going to have a huge positive impact on operator revenues, I’d say no.”
Key to Success? Significant advances have been made in the availability of bandwidth and the acceptance of worldwide social connections. Perhaps it will get some traction if it links to a 99 cent Apple iPhone® app. running on Facebook.
Keep pushing forward