When my radio alarm clock came on this morning to tell me it was time to wake up (yes, I still use a radio alarm clock) I briefly heard a report that the government will now start using videoconferencing in place of traveling to meet people (where applicable). Shortly after hearing this I decided that I really didn’t care, mashed the snooze button and drifted back inward for a few more minutes of sleep. It wasn’t until a few more depressions of the snooze button later that I started thinking more about the impact of video conferencing on business today and tried looking up any articles related to the story I had heard briefly at 6am. I did have difficulty finding any article referencing this radio blurb but finally found a quick mention of it here as being part of an overall campaign to cut unnecessary government spending:

http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/09/cutting-government-waste-start-with-the-swag/?iref=allsearch

Video conferencing is becoming more and more useful, practical and economical these days and I am definitely glad to see it. Meeting someone in person will never be fully replaced, at least not with more effort and money than it is worth, but we are at least at a place where we can save a lot of time and resources by doing a majority of meetings, interviews, and conferences electronically. And, as the video and audio tools continue to improve we will find meeting in person for business purposes an unnecessary vestige of a time gone by, because really there is only so much you can tell about a person from their handshake and most of it isn’t worth the potentially thousands of dollars to travel to meet them in the first place. If I can video conference with 10 different people from 10 different places in the world in one day without ever leaving my office or catching a plane then oddly the technology which keeps people from needing to meet in person is actually bringing people closer together. I’m not sure this will have a positive effect on the business of air travel but the benefits to all other business are substantial.