LifeCams: The Next Best Thing to Being There

Survey reveals 56 per cent of Canadians have used webcams to stay connected to friends and/or family

TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ - With Canadians spending more time online and their social networks growing in both size and geography, it's not surprising that many Canadians have used a webcam to stay connected online. According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Microsoft Canada, more than half of Canadians over the age of 18 have used a webcam to help them stay in touch with family and friends.

Cheaper than a phone call and considerably more personal, the survey found that 73 per cent of webcam users use video conferencing to help them bridge long distances and communicate with a friend or family member in another city or country.

"Being able to see the person you're talking to and read their facial and body language can help people communicate more effectively," says Kimberly Moffit, psychotherapist and relationship counsellor. "Video messaging with a webcam also allows people to feel much more connected with their loved ones, especially when they can't physically be there. Webcams give people the opportunity to really connect in ways that can't be replicated over the phone or through writing."

Almost all webcam users surveyed (94 per cent) agree that using a webcam to communicate with loved ones helps you feel closer to them. Hard as we try, we can't always be everywhere at once: 38 per cent strongly agree that using a webcam to communicate with loved ones helps ensure you don't completely miss out on life's big moments, such as birthdays, holidays, weddings or a baby's first steps.

"We call Microsoft webcams LifeCams because they are designed to help you share life with your loved ones," says Charles Chang, Product Manager for Microsoft Hardware. "That's why Microsoft developed High Definition Video, TrueColour, and Clear Frame Technology, to provide the ultimate online video experience. With great image and sound quality - it's the next best thing to actually being there."

But webcams aren't just for personal use only: they are helpful for businesses as well. With more companies branching out with satellite offices and more employees working virtually from home, the study also found that:

    
    -  79 per cent of Canadians agree that conducting business meetings over
       a webcam is more effective than a phone call;

    -  91 per cent agree that conducting business meetings over a webcam
       saves companies on travel costs;

    -  Nine out of 10 Canadians agree that it helps employees in different
       locations feel more part of the team.
    

Other interesting Canadian webcam facts include:

    
    -  63 per cent of Quebecers have used a webcam in the past, making La
       Belle Province the most likely to use webcams, followed by British
       Columbians at 61 per cent, Ontarians at 53 per cent and residents of
       Saskatchewan and Manitoba landing at 45 per cent.

    -  39 per cent of Quebecers like to use their webcams to connect to
       people in the same city while British Columbians are more likely than
       those living in other parts of the country to use a webcam to connect
       with friends and family from another city (81 per cent)

    -  Quebecers also appear to be the most social, with 16 per cent having
       used a webcam to meet new people
    

TrueColour, Microsoft's new image processing technology, analyzes the user's environment and automatically adjusts the LifeCam settings to provide brighter and more colourful video. TrueColour Technology is available with the LifeCam HD-5000 and LifeCam HD-6000 for Notebooks. These LifeCams will also feature 720p HD sensors* and Auto Focus technology at a value price.

* Popular video call services support VGA resolution - not 720p

About Microsoft Canada

Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing.

Microsoft Canada Co. was founded in 1985. As the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington, the company provides sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in French and English. Microsoft Canada has grown from five people in 1985 to more than 900 employees. It also has strong relationships with more than 24,000 partners across Canada. More than 1,100 of these are Microsoft Certified Partners, and over 200 are Gold Certified Partners. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has regional offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: press only: Christine Law for Microsoft Canada, (416) 644-2284, claw@highroad.com; Matt Chandler for Microsoft Canada, (416) 644-2268, mchandler@highroad.com

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