Video-calling hasn’t taken off in the West yet, which I’d put mostly down to the fact that once you openly start using it, your boss and/or partner will assume they can videocall you at any time and see exactly what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it with.
It’s a slippery slope for anyone pulling a sickie, having an affair, or just going about their business in a private way. And y’know what? South Korea may be one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world, but people there don’t want it either. This is despite the fact that operators and handset manufacturers are keen to tout it as a hot new service.
“The usage rate is still quite low for video telephony,” says Qualcomm’s CH Kim. “Operators are trying to promote it as a killer application, but many people are still sceptical about it. People don’t want to use it. I don’t want to talk to my boss watching their face!”
This gut instinct (sorry if you’re reading, Mr Kim’s boss) is borne out by Qualcomm’s interviews with Korean mobile users.
“At first when they purchase video telephony capable phones, they use it two or three times with friends and family, but that’s it,” he says. “They never use it again – they hate it! I actually have some friends now who are looking for phones that are NOT capable of video telephony…”