The report focuses on a technology known as Telepresence - essentially high resolution video and audio conferencing, which allows "a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, at a location other than their true location" (Wikipedia).
Gartner goes on to explain that...
"...not every meeting needs to be face to face and there is no doubt that telepresence and other approaches to virtual collaboration such as Immersive Workspace, which is built on top of Second Life, or yet to be released solutions will provide a real alternative for many businesses"
One of the arguments given for the third runway is "increased competitiveness" and the growing demand for business flights in and out of London. Even if you ignore the environmental impact of unnecessary air travel and the dropping demand for flights, there are a number of other clear benefits to using this technology:
- Cost savings on travel
- Executives can stay at home with their families
- Less man hours wasted through travel and therefore productivity gains
- Health aspects - no jet lag (maybe a few late evenings in the office!)
Through innovation in communications and IT, global business travel is now becoming less of a necessity for business and will continue to do so as technology improves.
Isn't it time Gordon Brown focused more of his efforts into fostering science and technological innovation in the UK than folly such as the the third runway at Heathrow?
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