A CRISIS-INSPIRED video-conferencing boom could cost the travel industry up to US$3.5 billion a year, according to IT analysts at Connecticut-based Gartner Research.
Speaking at his company's annual forecasting briefing in Sydney, Gartner 'fellow' Steve Prentice said video meetings could prompt airline capacity cuts of more than two million seats annually.
"The challenge of the current economic conditions demands that every organisation revisits the need for face-to-face meetings," said Prentice.
"Telepresence is not the answer in every circumstance and there will always be strong cultural, and other, reasons for face-to-face encounters, particularly in Asia. But not every meeting needs to be face-to-face and there is no doubt that telepresence and other yet-to-be-released solutions will provide a real alternative for many businesses," he continued.
"Companies should put aside previous prejudices and bad memories of older video-conferencing services and seriously investigate these new technologies."