I am amazed with how far we have come with communications in what feels like a short amount of time. 20 years ago when I talked to my grandmother who lived hundreds miles away, I remember my mother passing me the big clunky corded telephone.
Now, I walk into a store and see the front desk clerk video chatting with his family in India via Skype. Recently at Matrix Group, we hosted a staff meeting with video chat . This allowed for our remote staff to see us and really feel a part of our meeting.
Many companies are now taking advantage of video technologies like Google Hangouts to engage with their remote employees. Video chat is also giving people an opportunity to participate in special events they may otherwise miss because of illness, deployment, etc. I have seen more stories of terminally ill patients getting to “be” part of their child’s wedding or soldiers getting to see the first moments of their child’s life because of the availability of video chat.
Recently, I jumped on the video chat bandwagon. A friend of mine moved to Hawaii for a military deployment and therefore could not be here for our usual events. We didn’t want to leave her out because of distance so we started using Skype to allow her to join us. Sure, she couldn’t physically enjoy tea and scones with us at brunch, but she could still be part of the conversation. I even setup a Skype account for my pet birds so I can video chat with them during the day while I am at work. The birds are happy to see me on the monitor and hear my voice. It definitely helps make the longer work days more enjoyable.
With people having to relocate for work and/or major life changes (e.g. births, caring for aging family, illness, and etc.), I believe video chat is going to become the new norm for checking in and communicating from a distance. As a social person, video chat helps fill the gap for me. I am excited to see what comes next.
How has video chatting changed the way you communicate? What programs do you prefer to use?