FaceTime may be being sold in that slightly schmaltzy ads-industry led way as a way for grandparents to see their younger relatives grow up into the college drop outs of tomorrow, and for absent fathers to watch their kids first steps as they beg for that missing alimony cheque, but there’s a real life use for video chat — it can save lives! Really.
Take a look at the recent video chat between Doctors David Armstrong and Lee Rogers. The two men were talking together to decide what to do to help a patient who had problems which meant that a foot amputation might be required.
The doctors agreed that the impact of the chat session was huge, because it had the potential to alter how they worked with colleagues in future. If they needed a second opinion, they just had to FaceTime call their colleague or friend. CoM also notes Kaweah Delta Health Care District in Visalia, where, “doctors and staff already use smart phones” and where a small group of doctors are trialing use of an iPad to keep tabs on patients stats.
Of course, the great advantage of FaceTime chat on a phone in contrast to 3G-based video chat sessions on phones that has been so heavily touted in the past is that because the video conversation takes place over WiFi, there’s less drops, and better image quality.
If only Apple were working to make FaceTime into a standard that required low bandwidth to work over other common networking techs, such as 3G. Oh hang on, I just got the memo.