I vividly remember the Sam Mendes-directed launch video for the Apple iPhone 4. This was the democratisation of video calls. High quality video calls reducing the geographical distance between people. Kirk to Enterprise had become a reality.

We’d already had Skype video calls for a while of course, between computers. But now it was for mobiles and tablets.

It promised so much, and has probably delivered in places with an abundance of one critical ingredient in the successful video call.

Bandwidth.

I travel quite a bit, and miss my family when I do. Yet, I find the Facetime call is an increasingly frustrating – rather than satisfying – experience. We live in the country, and the broadband is 30MB ‘down’ in theory, but the contention is 1-to-48 so the video element at the family end is jittery, or falls out, or freezes.

This is also a problem in business where company networks have insufficient bandwidth. You don’t need video so much on business calls, but it’s more important to connect visually with people you love, I find.

So, until our contention improves, I’m leaving video calls and going back to audio. The kids are less distracted and you get a better quality of conversation. I’ll simply have to imagine their faces better.

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