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December 4, 2009

Video calling with Fring – interview with the CEO

Avi-ShechterGLOBAL – The other day we caught up with Avi Schechter, CEO of Fring to talk about its new video calling service. We announced the app the other day and it really is something – giving users the ability to hold video calls with Skype users, from their mobile phones. As we’re in London and Avi is based in Tel Aviv, we did the interview over Skype. Right there on my desktop was Avi looking at the front camera on his N97 and making the call over his local 3G network. It works folks, and it works quite brilliantly.

Fring has been around for a little while and actually introduced the first VoIP service on Nokia devices in early 2007. The addition of video is seen by Avi as “another world first” and something the company is intensely proud of. No wonder. Fring has grown as a service, aggregating more and more social services into one easy to use app.

It was only a few days after it launched when we spoke to Avi but he told us the feedback so far was really encouraging. Not only are users pleased with the addition, but they’re already getting requests for support on additional devices, such as the E71 and N85, something Avi’s team are listening to and trying to make happen.

Avi cites the big uptake in video calling on Skype as part of the motivation for bringing that aspect of the service to life. Video calling was previously challenged by different networks and operators, and of course different devices. Opening up video calling between mobiles and computers changes that significantly. Avi is expecting to see this come to light during the holiday season, when people are most wanting to connect.

For Fring, mobilising video calling was a natural evolution of the product. Giving people the opportunity to make video calls without any networking issues, or cross-border (long distance) concerns is a major boon.

But what next for a company that prides itself on innovation? Avi is understandably coy in his answer, but he did treat us to his take on location, which he sees as being important “not as a standalone thing, but as part of your communications”. When pressed, he wouldn’t reveal any more other than that the company is working on a bunch of things and wants to keep innovating. We’ll have to wait and see then.

Have you tried video calling using Fring yet? Let us know what you think.