Telepresence helps beat ash cloud travel problems

Miniature de l'image pour S COLLABORATION.gifWith ash from the Icelandic volcano preventing air travel - and making other forms of travel a challenge - across Europe, there's an understandable increase in emphasis in other forms of presence among business people. To be fair, though, that interest was already rising substantially partially as a consequence of recession-based belt-tightening and partially because technologies such as telepresence, webpresence, videoconferencing and unified communications are simply far better, far more available and far more usable than they have been in the past.

That uptake curve is borne out by recent research by Juniper Research, which projects that the value of presence-based mobile web 2.0 services will increase to more than US$6bn by 2012. The firm cites increased smartphone penetration in developed markets, along with growing usage of on-net and off-net mobile instant messaging.

In fact, the market is developing so nicely that ABI Research has concluded that telepresence has reached an inflection point. The firm reports that sales of telepresence hardware, software and services grew to U$567m in 2009 and are set to reach US$2.7bn by 2015. Telepresence, in ABI's view, is videoconferencing taken to the next level to the extent that participants feel that they are in the same room.

That will surely be critical if the ash cloud hangs over Europe for much longer. For that matter, if it does we could see the telepresence market outperform even these positive projections.

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.