With high fuel costs, dwindling corporate budgets and an increasing push for companies to become more envoronmentally conscious, it’s not surprising that telepresence is increasingly being turned to as a low(ish) cost option for meetings. With prices hovering around $10,000 to $20,000, creating a telepresence isn’t cheap, but then neither is flying an executive to a series of meetings and putting him up in an expensive hotel. A new story in Business in Vancouver highlights some of the local firms who are using telepresence (which is essentially a more immersive form of teleconferencing), including Cinemaworks, which recently opened a telepresence centre in Yaletown that can be used by companies for prices starting at $199 an hour.
It’s no surprise that the plummeting cost of bandwidth and the increasing cost and environmental damage of business travel have converged in new forms of meeting like telepresence, and that Vancouver, long a hotspot for clean technologies and green innovation, is at the forefront. But it remains to be seen how much traction telepresence will have once the economy picks up and executives again have the option to hop on a plane on the corporate dime.