It’s sort of the like the Cold War, the way people estimate the threat. For years we’ve heard that videoconferences will put the airlines out of business, that the threat is real and overwhelming. It’s sort of like the scene in the classic film Doctor Strangelove (left) where the ‘godless, atheistic commies’ not only have more missiles than we do but they even have more mine shafts to hide in than we do. “A shaft gap!” exclaims the bad doctor.
Well, they’re not atheistic or even godless, but videoconferencing or ‘video-telepresence technologies’ have come a long way. Now a Gartner Inc. analyst, Steve Prentice, sees this alternative to flying as a real threat. It will grow enough over the next three years that “high-definition video-meeting solutions” will cost the world’s airlines some 2.1 million seats a year by 2012. This new, improved, bigger, better and cleaner technology will cost the travel and hospitality industry about $3.5 billion annually, Prentice predicts.
“Companies should put aside previous prejudices and bad memories of older video-conference services and seriously investigate these new technologies,” Prentice said at a Gartner predict-a-thon in Sydney, Australia.