Videoconferencing is mainly associated with work, as it enables group work even in situations when members of the work team cannot physically meet. They are also suitable for keeping in touch with friends, for socializing and having fun when you can’t be together otherwise. Interestingly, the first video call was actually made 50 years ago, in 1970. The then mayor of Pittsburgh, Peter Flaherty, made the first video call in history with Alcoe CEO John Harper.
The device that enabled the first video call was Picturephone Mod II, and already on the first day of video call service availability, eight companies in Pittsburgh had a total of 38 such video communication terminals. This service was later available in several other major U.S. cities, with as many as 450 picture phones in use as early as 1973. The video calling service, of course, was not cheap, as the subscription at the time was $ 160 a month per device, so it never reached “ordinary” users.
Although the video call service has not had significant commercial success, it can easily be considered a precursor to today’s services such as Skype, Zoom, Viber and others. It is worth mentioning that the Picturephone Mod II video calling device operated on one megahertz video band, had a vertical image scanning frequency of 30 hertz and 250 visible lines. The audio and video were transmitted by the device via three parallel ordinary telephone pairs, two of which were used for video transmission and one for audio.