Is THIS how video conferencing will hit business travel? [VIDEO]

People have predicted the slow demise of business travel for decades, primarily because it has always been assumed that technology would replace the need for it.

Why spend 10.5 hours on a plane when you can fire up a computer and talk face-to-face? Board meetings can be run using large plasma screens in executive offices dotted around the world? Etc, etc.

Video conferencing has found a role, without a doubt, but mass adoption of services and drastic falls in levels of business travel as a result? Not really, the wobbly global economy a few years probably had a bigger impact.

Nevertheless the industry is approaching the evolution of it all in different ways. Brian Beard of Amadeus explained a year ago why video conferencing will not kill business travel whilst Sabre, at around the same time, launched a global reservation system for video conferencing.

But still the services (or their prototypes) hit the market, often from outside the existing travel technology sector, and leave many wondering whether the next tool will be the one that leads to a seismic shift.

On the evidence of this device from Suitable Technologies, known as Beam, opinion will be easily split between those that consider it the trigger and others that perhaps marvel at the technology but fail to see any kind of adoption at scale.

Ignore the somewhat Ikea-like acting, but here is “Susan” having a meeting with her colleagues, working on and fixing a problem and, of course, doing it all from home.

[NB: For the pedants out there, we also presumed the colleague wearing the headphones was able to hear “Susan” behind him because of some kind of alert in his ear 🙂 ]

NB: Hat-tip – TCTReview.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Prasun Bose

    Video conferencing will not completely kill business class travel as there are sill many things which cannot be simply accomplished using video conferencing. Tools like R-HUB HD video conferencing servers, Polycom, Avaya, webex, etc. will definitely help businesses in reducing travel costs, but will not completely eliminate business travel.

  2. Sceptical corporate traveller

    Modern version of same thing, showing how the Daleks triumph and the impact of “The Law of Unintended Consequences”!

  3. Sceptical corporate traveller

    Reminds me of the the famous cartoon showing 3 Daleks looking at a flight of stairs…… caption…. “Well, this certainly b**gers our plan to conquer the universe!” (Readily located on Google in various forms!)

    Can you imagine the fun the ‘elf ‘n saaafety brigade would have approving the use of these around an office (worse still in a factory environment!).

    Nice idea, love it, but can’t see it taking off.

  4. Glenn Wastyn

    I firmly believe “Virtual Travel” will be the new service in the travel industry. However, why would you go through the hassle of driving around an office building if you can directly connect to the screen in front of the people. Seems like a hassle from a unified collaboration point of view. On the other hand, its not good enough from a high-end videoconferencing perspective.

    I believe unified collaboration will be the largest market directly integrated and linked to the laptops and mobile devices and for important meetings where quality and reliability is key dedicated codecs and landlines will always be key. Large corporations will buy those in there HQ’s, but will use public rooms in smaller offices as will SME’s who can’t afford to buy those units.


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