Sadly, the days of playing solitaire on your computer during a conference call may be coming to a close. At the Interop Las Vegas 2006 conference yesterday, Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers predicted that telepresence, a much more sophisticated and flashy form of teleconferencing, would be prevalent in just a year.
Here’s how it would work: High-resolution video- and voice-conferencing systems would be combined with high-bandwidth IP communications to form a much more complete sensory experience. Telepresence would be the next-best thing to putting participants in the same room, clearly putting any solitaire games in jeopardy. The primary appeal of these virtual conferences is that they could help users better determine—based on facial expressions and body language—what others thought and felt about the topics under discussion.
Most of the technology exists for this already, but adoption will ultimately come down money: how much it costs to produce and how much it’s sold for. But let’s not forget the hidden cost—the ability to ignore meaningless corporate jargon with computer card games. Is this really something we want?