I know this is nothing new, but the experience is somehow different, especially when it happens to you unexpectedly. Here’s what happened…
I have a prospective consulting client in the UK. We’ve had a couple of phone calls and numerous emails. I was away on vacation last week and we planned to talk yesterday to catch up and finalize details. She suggested we use Skype. Truthfully, I’ve used Gizmo Project for internet phone calls. For a while, I used it quite a bit, but not lately. I had downloaded Skype for Mac just in case while a client was overseas, but hadn’t really used it.
I scrambled… First, upon plugging in my USB headset, I found that it was recognized right away. I was able to confirm this quickly with a nifty test call feature that was built right into my “buddies” list. Then, unexpectedly, the prospective client suggested we might do video; and before I knew it, I could see her!
I have a MacBook Pro with a build-in webcam. I opened Skype’s preferences and told it to automatically activate the camera. She called back and presto, we were in a face-to-face meeting. Just like that, my first transcontinental video conference call. Very much like being in a meeting, but without the travel time.
I was impressed with Skype’s ease of use, neatly supported by the Mac’s ease of use and the fact that Skype supports the Mac. It’s easy to see why Skype is the clear leader in VoIP calling.
And, despite writing about this stuff for years (and even consulting with VDOnet years ago when they had one of the first webcam networks), I was struck by the immediate reality of our global village. It reached out and touched me in a concrete way, and gratefully in a way that may well benefit my bottom line.
It’s a treat when all this stuff we write and think about comes up to you and gives you a nice warm fuzzy nudge. 😉