Skype’s recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) states that, in the last three months of 2010, video-enabled calls accounted for 42% of Skype’s within network communication minutes. In October, 2009, Skype described video calls as accounting for “more than a third” of its total communication minutes. Given that description, Skype’s video call share probably has risen over the past year.
Other Skype actions are consistent with the increasing importance of video communication. Skype recently acquired Qik. Qik offers live video calls from mobile phones as well as a wide range of options for video sharing. In January, 2011, Skype officially launched a group video calling feature. This paid service allows a social video call among up to nine persons at a time. Group video calling requires more expensive product development than rebranding “speaker phone” as “social mode”, but it serves a similar need. In addition to these developments, Skype reportedly is negotiating with Facebook to establish a video-calling partnership.
The sensory form of communication offer a propitious field for service innovation. Mobile network operators are slowly integrating voice and data communications under LTE mobile networking technology. Will they finally produce a show-and-tell communicator? How about a Twitter-like service using photos? Like Skype’s SEC filing, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Order in the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet (adopted Dec. 21, 2010) refers to “voice and video telephony”. Expect communication services of different sensory forms to gain importance in the future.