There’s nothing like increasing fuel prices to generate telecom-transportation tradeoff stories. This is very promising stuff for people like us live 3.5 hours flying time from anyplace important. But none of these innovations can work here until we get decent quality on our broadband links. Has anyone tried skype videoconferencing other than in Singapore or Europe?
As travel costs rise and airlines cut service, companies large and small are rethinking the face-to-face meeting — and business travel as well. At the same time, the technology has matured to the point where it is often practical, affordable and more productive to move digital bits instead of bodies.
The emerging trend, analysts say, goes well beyond a reaction to rising travel costs and a weakening economy. “These technology tools are going to change the way corporations think about travel and work in the long run,” an analyst at Forrester Research, Claire Schooley, said.
Past predictions that technology could replace travel have been frequent and premature. The main difference today, analysts say, is that the technology is finally catching up to its promise. No single breakthrough explains the progress, but rather a series of step-by-step advances — and steady investment — in telecommunications networks, software and computer processing.