Back in 1994, my client was Cincinnati Bell Telephone and I purchased my first picture phone. Actually it was a camera that allowed you to take a snapshot and fax it to the receiving picture phone. So naturally I needed to buy three - one for me, one for my parents and one for Susan's parents. I got a great deal on the phones since they had been sitting as obsolete inventory at Cincinnati Bell for at least a year.
Last weekend when I was in Kansas, I configured my parents PC with at Webcam and installed Skype. It appears video telephony is now beginning to become another killer app. Naturally my dinosaur (and cheap) Acer has no integrated webcam but naturally I had an old 3Com Homeconnect camera from the 1996 days of playing with this technology and Voice over Internet (VOiP).
Then came the fun - trying to find a driver that worked with Vista and integrating that with Skype. After 2 hours of fiddling, searching discussion boards, installing compatible software etc. through the process of trial and error I installed Splitcam and BINGO the video on Skype worked.
Then a quick call to my parents and like kids with new toys (and like we hadn't seen each other for years instead of just 24 hours ago) we chatted and smiled. Something is just different about talking and looking at each other.
So the video phone in 2001 A Space Odyssey is still not mainstream - but give it time.