Video voicemail is a multimedia mail service that offers a video recording of a message. Callers with the capacity for video messaging who contact people using systems that support such services can leave brief videos if the people they are calling are not available. The messages may be picked up through a smartphone, mobile device, or computer that logs into a voicemail system. Such communications can offer opportunities to distribute information that might be difficult on an audio call.
One version of video voicemail allows people to leave ordinary voice messages that are animated with the use of a graphic image called an avatar when the recipient picks up the message. People may be able to choose and customize avatars used by the service. This can personalize messages, but does not allow for the active injection of video content into the voicemail.
Other services allow people to record video messages on voicemail accounts, or to send a video to a mailbox. For example, a parent at home might send a parent on deployment a video voicemail of a child’s first steps, or people could call distant family members and leave them short video messages. Video communication may feel more intimate for some types of calls, or could allow people to convey important information. Patients calling a nursing hotline, for instance, could leave a video voicemail to provide an image of an unusual rash or swelling, allowing a nurse to determine if it might be a cause for concern.
More bandwidth is required for video voicemail technology than plain audio communication. On phones and devices that offer this function, users may be provided with the choice of turning it off or declining messages if they are concerned about the expense. Such systems in settings like offices may also have time limits or other restrictions to keep bandwidth usage down. This can prevent lags and clogs on shared networks as multiple users attempt to download large video voicemail messages in connection with work activities.
This is a component of video calling technology, where people can talk face to face with full video and audio. Many systems that offer this feature also allow people to receive and send video voicemail with their contacts. The messages are stored on a central server until they are collected. Callers may have the option of keeping the messages in storage, deleting them, or downloading them to another device to replay and listen to later.