Consumers have video chatted on PCs for more than a decade, and they’re eager to take video communications mobile, according to a recent iGR consumer survey commissioned by Syniverse Technologies. But not everyone who wants to communicate via mobile video can – yet.
Incompatibility across mobile networks and devices is slowing mainstream adoption of mobile video communications, based on iGR’s August 2010 survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers.
Many end users also lack video cameras on their mobile devices. As a result, more than three of every four people surveyed (76 percent) said they had never used peer-to-peer (P2P) video communications – the act of sharing video between two or more individuals – on any device, with more than one-third (38 percent) citing their devices’ lack of a video camera.
“As smart phone proliferation continues, video is the next logical step in the evolution of mobile services,” said Tony Holcombe, President and CEO, Syniverse. “The key to widespread mobile video uptake is interoperability. That’s what enabled anytime, anywhere communications regardless of network or device for voice, text, and picture messaging, and the same will be true for mobile video.”
The growing demand for video was confirmed in a report released earlier this month by Cisco. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2010–2015, fully two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2015. Mobile video will more than double every year between 2010 and 2015, and it has the highest growth rate of any application category.
Smartphones seen as best device for video chat
Despite PCs currently being the most popular devices for video calling (88 percent), 71 percent of iGR survey respondents identified the smart phone as one of the best devices for video communications. In fact, 13 percent of those surveyed who owned a new smart phone with a front-facing camera had used it for some form of P2P video within the first three months.
“The problem with PC, even laptop-based, video calling is that it typically is more of a fixed-location experience,” Holcombe said. “In other words, you have to be in a location where a consistent Wi-Fi connection is available to initiate or receive the video call.”
He added, “By eliminating these constraints, mobile video communications – especially services that are interoperable across networks, applications and devices – liberate a consumer to share real-time video communications, regardless of location or any other barriers. For example, a parent attending a child’s football game can use a mobile device to share live video with distant relatives regardless of their network or phone type, with no special app required.”
The iGR survey revealed that P2P video interoperability likely will be the technology advancement that pushes widespread consumer adoption of mobile video communications across all devices.
While nearly one in four respondents (24 percent) already have experienced P2P video communications, nearly three of every five surveyed (57 percent) are very interested or somewhat interested in a video calling application that permits connection to and from a variety of devices, not just the PC-to-PC capabilities predominately available today.
From a demographic perspective, Americans aged 18 to 34 encompass 71 percent of consumers using P2P video communications today, with 25 to 44 year olds about 20 percent more interested than the average consumer in network- and device-agnostic video calls. At the same time, there was little variation in interest when defined by current income, average revenue per user (ARPU), rate plan (prepaid/postpaid or family) or education levels.
“Although video communications is both very consumer and business oriented, the interest in these capabilities is ubiquitous across many different user profiles,” said iGR President Iain Gillott. “People are using it in every aspect of their lives and, more importantly, they want to be able to use it across more across networks and devices, wherever they are.”
To download an executive summary of the survey results, see: www.syniverse.com/white-papers.
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