Filed under Tech4Life – the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) video-calling software Skype is one of those bits of tech that has made a real positive impact on my life. I recently relocated to Hong Kong to live but am working with a company in the UK and attending Monday morning management meetings. A few years ago that would have entailed a really brutal 12 hour commute or the use of a time machine. Now they take a laptop into the meeting room and load up Skype and we are cooking with gas. In fact the team in question are, as I type, attending GDC 2009 in San Francisco and we have just had a quick video update on various topics before I turn in for bed and they head out for breakfast.
I have been working remotely with clients for a number of years and I have to say that video conferencing makes a huge difference. It is so much easier to communicate when you you can hear and see the people you are talking to. This is especially true for distributed development teams where you need to give feedback (constructive criticism) to a remote team mate. Email and text based IM just isn’t as good in situations like that for transmitting the nuances of what you are saying. It’s far easier to take offence when a message is in email form than it is when you can see and hear the person offering up the critique.