Webcams have been around for 25 years. They are built into most laptop computers, tables and higher-end smartphones. Computer geeks at University of Cambridge are credited with creating the first webcam. Their motivation was a cup of coffee. In 1998 the BBC did a story on the birth of the webcam. A camera was set up in the Trojan Room focused on the coffee pot, and visible on the Internet (as simplistic as it was then) so that the geeks could check to see if there was coffee in the pot before making the trip for a cup of java.
You can now “travel the world” by viewing a wide variety of webcams; including ski areas, tourist attractions, bus stops, airports, and coffee pots. They can be used to create your own home movies, or to share an important moment with friends via video.
The webcam has also made it possible to “video-conference” around the world. Students away at college or deployed military can see and talk with their families on Skype. Using desktop conferencing, business meetings can be done without missing the ability to sleep in your own bed. World-wide events are now streamed using webcams that are as sophisticated as most Network TV cameras.
Webcam technology has evolved very quickly. The office coffee pot has not evolved quite that much.