While we have not seen much recently in the way of new releases and other activity from Skype itself there have been some interesting reports about innovative solutions using Skype to overcome both short and long distance geographical challenges. (Somehow I have a feelingsSkype is going through the process of Microsoft product integration – which is not exactly trivial.)
Family Portraits for the geographically challenged family
The Atlantic, in Here, but Not Here: Photographs of Families Held Together by Love, Skype, and several other sites have reported on Singapore-born but New York resident and photographer John Clang’s use of Skype video to take virtual family portraits where family members are geographically separated. There is also an earlier interview with Clang at Resource Magazine Online discussing his motivation to carry these out.
From The Atlantic post:
The project grew out of personal experience. Clang moved from Singapore, where his parents are, to New York in 1999. In the 13 years since, the experience of that distance has changed dramatically. “When I first moved to New York, I had to limit my calls to my parents as overseas calls were very expensive. Every time I call, I [would] time it and make a note, just in case the phone company bills me for more than what I’ve used. Now I just pick up the phone and call whenever I want to, as though they are in the same city as me.”
Check out the links for more outcomes of this innovative concept and information about his forthcoming display at the Singapore National Museum early next year.
Skype for Intercom and Public Address System
A common problem for churches and other community organizations is to allow those looking after children in, say, a nursery to follow the main event or service. Skype usage tracker Hudson Barton came up with a rather unique solution using Skype not only to address the issue at hand but also to do it at a much lower cost than a traditional PA system.
The process of broadcasting an event to the nursery (or to any location) is now accomplished simply by placing a Skype call, which is automatically answered by the computer at the other end. The one-way channel provides crystal clear sound and is turned off by just hanging up the call at the podium. Non-technical managers are able to handle the setup with no problem, and if the speaker needs to wander away from the podium, he merely takes the iPod off its Velcro holder and slips it into his shirt pocket. The new system has completely replaced the baby monitor PA system. The sound quality is vastly improved.
Skype President Tony Bates talks about how Skype uses Skype Group Video internally to create an international water fountain:
Interestingly, this is something we’ve also been doing internally at Skype for a number of years in order to connect our different offices with one another. We have TV screens placed near all the water coolers in our offices so that anyone in one office can see what’s going on in any of our other offices around the globe via Skype Group Video Call.
Tony goes on to make some observations about the impact of ambient video for both personal and business use.
Six years ago I encountered a friend’s son who effectively used the Skype “ambient video” concept for courtship. Today Eric and Lore are now a family with two children. And Eric’s mother now uses Skype for iPad as her sole communications support while traveling internationally.
Bottom line: Communications innovation persists as users adopt unique ways to use Skype. And I suspect the process to continue as users become more familiar with the various features of Skype.
Learn more about Skype’s features from Experience Skype to the Max, the author’s Kindle eBook on using Skype. Read it on your iPad, Android tablet or other devices if you don’t have a Kindle.