More and more people are using video chats, which led me to hypothesize that video consultations will become more popular in the future.
Skype just unveiled an updated iPhone app that allows users to make video calls over Wi-Fi or 3G. It is not necessarily a game-changer for lawyers, but it has some cool possibilities.
How it works
All you need is a Skype account, an iPhone, and an internet connection (either Wi-Fi or 3G). If you already use Skype on your iPhone, simply press “video call” instead of “call.” The person you are calling can either use an iPhone or the Skype desktop app. Notably, Skype to Skype calls are free.
Similar to Apple’s Facetime application (also free), you can choose which camera feed you send to your recipient (front or rear facing). Unlike Facetime, Skype does not require a Wi-Fi connection.
As of right now, this feature is only available for iPhone users. I have a feeling, however, that it will be available on phones running Android in the near future.
Do not expect crystal clear picture
I have made a couple calls using both Facetime and Skype. It is highly unlikely that you will broadcast or receive a high definition video feed. That said, considering the video is coming from a mobile device, it looks pretty good, all things considered.
Not a game-changer, but still useful
If you are on the move, but still want to talk face to face with a co-worker, you now have that option. This will not happen very often, but it is nice to have that option.
To me, the more useful possibilities involve using support staff, like a paralegal or law clerk, to interview witnesses or examine evidence while you stay in the office. Sure, they could use a laptop, but what if there is no internet connection?
On top of that, it is much easier to use a smartphone like a camera instead of holding up and moving around a laptop. If you have an iPhone and use Skype, give it a shot!