Another Video Phone Company Bites The Dust, But The Idea Lives On

OJOPHONEA few days ago Tom Keating over at TMC wrote a post detailing how Worldgate Communications is nearing the end of its rope. Worldgate was the company most recently behind the OJO VOIP/Videophone service. It’s always sad when a company shuts its doors, but I wonder how many are going to throw their fortunes behind videophones? This is clearly a product that almost nobody wants.

Many companies have pushed the idea of the videophone over the years. Packet8 still offers one, Vonage did for a while, of course almost every soft phone maker jumps on video as the next big thing. Skype, Sightspeed and ooVoo come to mind.

I don’t get it all. I walk into my local Fry’s Electronics and I see videophone hardware on the shelf. Usually its DLink’s DVC-1000, or the Vialta Beamer, sometimes others. There they sit…and almost noone buys them. Yet manufacturers don’t get that lesson.

Motorola itself made great pronouncements about the Ojo some time ago, as it was their product at first. But nothing happened. Even Skype admits that few users make use of the video portion of their service. Fewer still the new high quality video capability.

Videophones are a curiosity. I bought into it long enough to invest in a few Logitech cameras. I made a few calls using video. Curiosity now satisfied the Logitech camera sits on top of my monitor as a reminder that I should think before I buy.

My webcam is a hula hoop. An impulse purchase, long idle. I should have known better. And so should these companies.

Now, Cisco is apparently pushing its next generation of video conferencing as a means to sells its newest networking gear. I wonder if that will have more traction?