Video Phones Revisited With OnSIP

While doing some admin tasks today I stumbled upon a recent post by Mike Oeth at the Junction Networks blog. He says:

As long as the video is using the SIP standard, we at Junction Networks are all for it. Our OnSIP Hosted PBX already supports video codecs using the SIP standards. Today, any customer with a video phone can make video calls.

He further states:

Oddly, however, I have the capability and most of us here at Junction Networks have video cameras, but I do not make it a habit to make video calls for business. My kids call the grandparents on the video phone every now and then, but as a business tool, at least here, it has not caught on. Does anyone have an industry where they use the video phone all the time? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Amen. That about sums up the state of video phones in general.

Technically just about anyone with broadband access can implement video calls. The phones are available, as are the service providers. But it still doesn’t get much traction.

Even Skype users that I deal with don’t make use of their cameras much. They have them, but typically can’t be bothered to use them. Evidently there’s just not much value adding video to a typical phone call.

This is in contrast to video conferencing, or the recently hyped tele-presence, which are completely separate matters. These are typically found in large business situations, where their value is clearly evident.

What I’d really like to know is if there is any middle ground. That is, now that large screen TV’s are very common would a video phone implementation as an aspect of a home theater setup get any more traction than the dedicated hardware video phones with 4-6″ LCD screens?

I can’t help but think that hooking a PC up to my 42″ LCD-TV is interesting and potentially useful. Is there something akin to super expensive tele-presence that might be more approachable to SOHO and SMB users? Or is that yet to be created?