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Europe demands open and easy video calling

Posting in Education

85 percent of Europeans want companies to agree to a common standard so video calling is more flexible and interchangeable.

Conducted on behalf of Cisco, a survey of 1873 consumers found that in Europe, 81 percent believe it is "personally important" for them to use communication technologies that are compatible with each other -- which is termed "interoperatable".

Consider Skype, Facetime, and Google Chat. Opposed to a standard phone call or email exchange, these programs remain mutually exclusive. However, this may not satisfy consumers for long -- as 86 percent -- 70 percent strongly -- want companies to create a common standard so different software packages can communicate properly.

Video communication is on the rise, as nearly 40 percent of those who use video calling said they will use video technology more often in the next twelve months, whereas only 4 percent expect to use video calling less. It's no surprise in light of the boom in mobile technology and the continued integration of global networks -- via social media, free Internet calling and sophisticated personal computing -- that customers are beginning to expect more bang for their buck.

But what about working professionals? 80 percent said that video calling could become an easy and efficient way for doctors to communicate with patients in rural areas. In education, the same technology could be used for live lectures and as a way to interact with students across distance but in real-time.

In the future, video-calling may have a prominent place in the corporate sphere. 81 percent state -- 35 percent extremely so -- that interoperability is not only crucial for their own use of video, but companies should make it possible for better software integration. 78 percent of consumers surveyed said that Microsoft should make its Skype technology open-source, whereas 72 percent believe the firm's decision not to is "unfair" to consumers.

Chris Dedicoat, President of Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Russia at Cisco said:

"Video is the most engaging medium and its use in every aspect of our lives is growing exponentially. Consumers and business users alike today are demanding that video communications solutions work together and that making a video call be as easy as making a phone call.
This is about freedom of choice, and we the technology industry must rally around open standards, as we did so effectively with telephone service, the Internet and email. Only with a truly open video community will we fully reap the economic and social benefits of this transformational technology."

On February 27th of this year, Skype reported that 34 million people were using the service at one time. As video collaboration and communication becomes more mainstream, if consumer choice is to be maintained at a global scale, firms may have to take the first step in making such software more flexible.

— By on October 12, 2012, 5:33 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure