What are the benefits of these communication tools?
(Lower communications cost. You can communicate to your friends and family, for free – except for the internet cost. Interestingly, Skype has this disclaimer at its website: “Skype is not a replacement for your telephone and can’t be used for emergency calling” :))
What are the benefits of these communication tools in library setting?
(Again, lower communications cost. The Library has international vendors, and sometimes I need to communicate with them verbally, especially when the email conversation is getting us nowhere. After an IDD phone conversation, I would need to fill up forms, sign forms and submit even more forms. Plus, the Library would need to pay the IDD fee. Nowadays, I just Skype with the vendors and happily say goodbye to the forms.)
What kind of practical applications can you think of for this visual communication?
(Remote office. In one of the meetings that our library had, we suddenly realized that we needed one colleague’s input to finalize a decision. She was not at the office at that time so we decided to ‘Skype’ her. Through a Skype video-call, she was able to see us and vice versa. We then continued our meeting with her participation – she did not need a chair, though.)
Can we leverage on these tools to support and assist library users?
(Yes, I would think so. Example: I used Hangouts to deliver my talks to students from other institutions. This allows me to remain in my office, yet still have the interaction with my audience. Unlike other web-conference tools, students are much more adaptable to Hangouts and most of them already have Google accounts. I bet you can think of many other examples.)