The Videophone: the Rodney Dangerfield of Visual Communications

Looking up and looking down on videophones

Videophones have been around for a long time.  Indeed, one of the most common references in video conferencing lore is to the AT&T picturephone that debuted at the June 1964 World's fair. Images of the AT&T device almost always show the video screen next to a touch-tone phone, a telephone innovation that had been introduced just seven months earlier.  And while it took ~20 years for the push-button telephone to be in the majority of US homes, the surprisingly slow adoption rate for "touch-tone phones" in the home certainly exceeded that for videophones in the enterprise or home.  This research note looks at how videophone shipments compare to figures for voice phones and for room video conferencing systems and analyzes the causes of the differences, while summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of these devices.

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15 Mar 2017
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