Video-conferencing threat really is real, says Gartner


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.

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14 Responses to Video-conferencing threat really is real, says Gartner

  1. Benefits of Video Conferencing February 9, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    The first time when I used the video conferencing I was really nervous about how do I look or how do I speak through the equipment, but it was a great feeling.

  2. Marty Hollander February 10, 2009 at 6:49 am #

    The visibility that Telepresence has gotten, especially Cisco’s advertising, has reinforced that this is videoconferencing that works as users expect. And this experience seemingly removes the requirement of traveling. The challenge is that it is like the fax machine adoption from the 80′s. You need a lot of locations to exist so that people can communicate. And these telepresence rooms are very expensive to create and operate.

    Another aspect of videoconferencing that is changing is that HD resolution to the desktop at 30 frames per second is available on laptops purchased in the last year or so. This quality level enables natural communication. Our company ( is highly distributed, yet we meet anytime using our laptops, a webcam and speakerphone.

    I believe that as people become comfortable using videoconferencing, that the ability to do it anywhere they can have an Internet connection will have far greater impact on traveling than telepresence meeting rooms. To continue the metaphor, consider how much more valuable email is versus a fax. That is the parallel of personal telepresence from a laptop versus the requirement to use a telepresence room.

    Perhaps, flying will become a leisure activity rather than a business necessity for meeting.

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