Videoconferencing has been around in one form or another for quite a while, but it took the pandemic to thrust into prominence with just about everyone. In a way, it has been the delivery of something long-promised by phone companies, futurists, and science fiction writers: the picture phone. But very few people imagined how the picture phone would actually manifest itself. We thought it might be interesting to look at some of the historical predictions and attempts to bring this technology to the mass market.
The reality is, we don’t have true picture phones. We have computers with sufficient bandwidth to carry live video and audio. Your FaceTime call is going over the data network. Contrast that with, say, sending a fax which really is a document literally over the phone lines.