5 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Videotelephony

During a time when we have to work remotely and stay at home, we can’t imagine our life without video calling apps. Videotelephony technology has been there for longer than we know. Only, its usage has increased multi-fold since last year, when the world started undergoing a lockdown. 

The term videotelephony refers to real-time video communication between 2 or more people, using a device which has a camera, a microphone and network connection. However, this technology hasn’t really developed in the 21st century. Let’s see how it has developed with time to give us what we have and what we are about to get.

The 1st 2-Way Video Communication Took Place in 1930

Frankly speaking, scientists have been working on the concept of videotelephony since the late 1870s.After plenty of trials and failures, the first 2-way video communication took place on 9th April, 1930, between AT&T’s Bell Labs and their corporate headquarters. 

Of course, the image quality at that time was quite poor as compared to what we have today. Additionally, it used large equipment and wired communication technology for the same.

The First Computer App that Came Out with Videotelephony Features was Yahoo Messenger

After 1930, several developments were made in videotelephony over the years. We needed separate devices to make video calls until 1999, when Yahoo Messenger introduced the feature in its computer app. It was the first time when we could use our computer and internet connection to chat live, over call or on video with another person.

Skype came in much later in 2005, followed by FaceTime, Zoom, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp,Google Duo, Google Meet and Houseparty. While some of these apps may have gained popularity very recently, they have been in existence for longer than we know.

Today, We Use 260 MB – 1.62 GB per Hour on One-to-One Video Chat

The quality of video chats that we have today, using wireless internet technology, are sure to consume a lot of data for obvious reasons. Depending on the standard of the call and the app we use, the data consumption varies. 

For instance, Facebook Messenger uses up 260 MB per hour while Skype uses up 270 MB per hour. Zoom on the other hand uses up 540 MB per hour. However, this is for a standard picture quality of 480p. For an HD call, where you’re using up a resolution of 1080p, you might use up 1.35 GB (in case of Skype) or 1.62 GB of data (in case of Zoom).

Group Video Calls Consume 500 MB – 3.6 GB per Hour

Other than the video quality and the app you use, the number of people you’re chatting with can also affect the amount of data consumed in a video conference. When you use Google Meet on your phone using mobile data, it’ll consume 500 MB in an hour. Else, it might consume up to 2.25 GB in high quality calling.

On the other hand, when it comes to Skype, the data used depends on how many people you’re talking to. The maximum data it consumes is 3.6 GB per hour for 7 people. Microsoft Teams is the most efficient app that way, consuming only 450 MB per hour in HD quality video calls.

Videotelephony is Now Reaching New Levels with Google Starline

So far, we moved from poor quality video calls in special devices to HD quality video calls in our phones. Now, Google is introducing the most realistic form of videotelephony through its new technology – Starline.

This technology uses a special hardware device which can give you the perception of talking to the other person in the very same room. It has developed machine learning, real-time compression, spatial audio and computer vision to make your experience more real.

From clear video and sound, videotelephony is now emerging into getting the feel of being in the same room with the person we want to talk to. And you don’t need any special headset or glasses for the same – this device will be enough. What we are yet to see is how it changes the way the world functions after it releases.

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