Point of Beginning Blog


Sight Lines: Can You See What I'm Saying?

October 5, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
The H1N1 flu pandemic and a continued budget crunch has many companies trying to keep travel to a minimum. Recent technology and business developments related to video conferencing seek to capitalize on this environment. While surveying can't be done remotely, many business meetings can be. Is it finally time for video conferencing to soar?



A couple of weeks ago, my mom gave me a new toy-a webcam that facilitates video calls. Admittedly, this technology is nothing new; PC-based video conferencing has been available since the 1990s. But it’s had only marginal acceptance at best, both due to technical issues (low-resolution images with frequent sound problems, among others) and lack of need (aren’t phone calls, e-mail and texting enough?).

Now, however, it appears that the situation is about to change. In late September, Hewlett-Packard launched new video conferencing software called SkyRoom that allows multiple people to share office documents, streaming video and interactive 3D applications. Last week, Cisco Systems launched a $3 billion bid to buy the video conferencing firm Tandberg ASA of Norway. And speculation abounds as to how Google’s Wave might revolutionize the way people communicate with each other by pulling correspondence into real time and, most likely, integrating a video component. Add these technology and business developments to the H1N1 pandemic and the continued budget crunch facing many organizations, and we might just have the perfect conditions for video conferencing to soar as a primary means of conducting business meetings. Maybe.

Personally, I’m not convinced. I’ve found chatting even informally by video to be a bit awkward. For one, just getting online at the same time as the person I’m trying to call has been a challenge. Once we’re connected, I’m uncomfortable seeing myself while I’m talking-it’s just plain disconcerting. And then there’s the matter of eye contact. Is it really possible to have an in-depth conversation looking directly into a little black piece of plastic? But if you instead look at the face of the person you’re addressing, then it appears that you’re looking down or askance. It’s hardly ideal.

A little practice and some high-end technology are said to correct these issues, but I remain skeptical. The reason my mom gave me the camera had little to do with business communications. For her, it’s just a fun way to stay in touch with her grandson. Of course, my 4-year-old loves it. And that thought gives me pause. I suppose that in 10 years, he could very well end up viewing the phone as an obsolete device as he makes all of his calls in 3D video. In that case, video technology could end up revolutionizing business communications, as well.

Perhaps I should start practicing.


***************

What do you think? Does your firm use video calls or video conferencing to conduct meetings with colleagues or clients? Do you see a big potential for this technology given some of the recent developments in software, hardware and the economy? Please share your comments below.

PS – If you’d like to connect with me in a video call, you can find me on Skype. Sometimes.
You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.

9/30/14 2:00 pm EDT

Technical Workflows on the Job Site Using 3D Laser Scanning

The purpose of this webinar is to dig into different laser scanning workflows and techniques.

POB

POB September 2014

2014 September

In this September 2014 issue of POB, we take a look at a book that reveals how a rare-map dealer made millions stealing ancient maps. Also, discover the secrets of a 21st-century surveyor and how technology enables small surveying businesses to ease growing pains and maximize their potential.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Surveying Career

Would you recommend surveying as a career to a current college student?
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +