Mobile video telephony today is not the killer app we all thought it would be . I believe this is due to the technical difficulties involved. That aside, there are niche markets that make use of what is currently available in mobile video telephony. Just this week I bumped into a news piece on Israeli TV (Channel 2 News) about doctors in Israeli hospitals using mobile phones during their daily rounds and surgery procedures to help in difficult decision making.
Below you can see the news item. Sorry for the Hebrew.
First ever trial of mobile phones use during surgery for remote “second opinion”
This is part of a new trial done in Israel hospitals of using 3G technology to send either still images or video (that is video calls using 3G-324M) during surgery. It is used by physicians to consult with medical specialists who are not located on premises, and improve the decisions they make. The initial trial shows that in almost 43% (yes – no mistake there) of cases, the medical specialist suggested a different treatment than the physician on site.
A pessimist would say this only proves that the medical system in Israel is failing. An optimist would say this shows telemedicine improves healthcare, and here’s yet another proof that technology can make our lives better.
Sagee from the neighboring blog is such an optimist. I am willing to admit that mobile video telephony, in its current state (that is: low frame rate – 15 max, low resolution – QCIF), may be sufficient for several niche markets: