彭蒙惠英语:20110221 MP3在线课程 Video Chat Opens Opportunities

时间 : 2013-12-18 08:39来源 : VOA官网 收听下载次数 :
下载音频

Video Chat Opens Opportunities

by Shan Li / (c) 2010, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

This increasingly prevalent technology expands possibilities for face-to-face services

You once had to leave home to see a psychiatrist for therapy, a music teacher for guitar lessons or a makeup artist for face-to-face consultations. Now they can come to you, virtually, through video chat.

Long the darling ofscience fiction aficionados, video chat has never much caught on for personal calls. But this year, with the technology being incorporated into a widening array of digital gadgets, professionals specializing in one-to-one services are experimenting with video chat as a way to vastly extend their reach.

Online video chat technology, once the province of geeks and corporate users, has become far more user friendly and available. Recently, Apple's iPhone 4 and HTC's Evo 4G phone debuted, both with video chat capability. Selected televisions now come with built-in cameras for video chat. On computers, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, iChat and other messaging services have offered video chat for several years. But image quality, reliability and user-friendliness have greatly improved over time.

Barriers removed

"Previously, people had to be kind of tech-savvy to use video chat," said Alfred Poor, an analyst with research group GigaOm Pro. "Now, with new products coming on the market with video chat already installed, that kind of barrier is no longer there."

GigaOm is so bullish on the technology that it estimates the annual number of video chats will increase from 600 million worldwide in 2008 to 30 billion by 2015.

Susan Fussell, associate professor of communications at Cornell University, doubts that personal calls will be a huge part of that boom if it comes. Crowds famously lined up to see AT&T's Picturephone at the 1964 New York World's Fair, but the technology didn't catch on in homes.

"Back when the Picturephone came out, housewives thought they had to put on makeup and dress up," Fussell said. "No one wants to do that on a day-to-day basis."

视讯通话开创商机

这项愈来愈普及的科技拓展了面对面服务的可能性

过去,你得出门才能去看精神医师接受治疗、找音乐老师上吉他课,或者向彩妆师寻求面对面谘询。现在,则是他们上门找你,只不过是透过视讯通话的虚拟管道。

视讯通话虽然向来深受科幻迷所喜好,却一直没有在个人用户间流行起来。 但今年,随着愈来愈多的数位器材纳入这项科技,专门采取一对一服务的行业也开始尝试运用视讯通话,藉此大幅扩张自己的服务范围。

线上视讯通话科技原本只有科技狂和企业人士才会使用,现在却变得相当普及,使用起来也容易许多。苹果的iPhone 4与宏达电的Evo 4G都在近来首度推出,两者都具备视讯通话的功能。现在,特定电视机也具有内建摄影机以供使用者进行视讯通话。在电脑上,Skype、Yahoo!奇摩即时通、iChat及其他讯息服务则是自从好几年前就已开始提供视讯通话服务。不过,影像画质、通话稳定度与操作介面的简易度也随着时间过去而出现了大幅改善。

移除障碍

「以前,只有比较精通科技的人,才懂得使用视讯通话,」研究机构GigaOm Pro的分析师艾佛德.普尔说: 「现在,由于市场上推出的新产品都已内建视讯通话功能,所以这种障碍已经不复存在。」

GigaOm对于这项科技非常乐观,估计每年全球视讯通话的数量将从二00八年的六亿通增加到二0一五年的三百亿通。

康乃尔大学传播副教授苏珊.傅塞尔则抱持怀疑的态度,认为就算视讯通话确实能够达到那么蓬勃的发展,主要的推动力也不会是个人通话。在一九六四年的纽约世界博览会上,美国电话电报公司的影像电话虽然众所周知地吸引了大批群众排队参观,但这项科技却没有普及于一般家庭。

「当初影像电话刚推出的时候,家庭主妇觉得自己还得化妆打扮才能讲电话,」傅塞尔说: 「没有人会想要每天都这么做。」

 

Easyvoa与空中英语教室吉林出版社合作,推出空中英语在线学习内容,为保护版权,不影响空英的杂志销售,只提供两年前空英的学习资料。如果您喜欢空中英语教室,欢迎加入 Easyvoa空英群115390136。