Flying to business meetings and conferences is not only hugely expensive these days, it is hugely polluting. Yes, I know that TED, the World Economic Forum and the Oscars are all “carbon neutral,” meaning that they pay people in poor countries not to cut down trees (right, I’m cynical about the rich paying the poor to save the planet as they jet around talking about saving the planet).
We need a way to communicate without actually going anywhere. And we have it. Both HP’s Halo and Cisco’s Telepresence video conferencing system are amazing high-tech systems that enable you to communicate with people around the world in a deep, emotional way. You can read faces, get the tonal nuance of voice—all the things that physical meetings give you.
The problem is that they are very expensive. The business model is for Cisco and HP to set up a dedicated video conferencing room for a company and charge them lots of dough every month for the service. What is needed is mass production of the technology so that anyone who has, say $50,000, can install video conferencing in the family room or den—or around the office. Or hospital. Or university. Or store. We focus these days on battery innovation or automobile innovation. But video conferencing could elminate a lot of transporation entirely.
So how about it Cisco and HP? Can we move your great video conferencing technology from the elite exotic to the mass produced—and save the planet too?