There’s news coming out over the last month that technology can – and will – soon provide us with new ways to be present with one another ala Star Wars/Star Trek “holodecks” and “holograms.”
If your fondest wish for a virtual meeting experience is to being able to simulate people being physically present (telepresent) with one another, here are a couple of new stories you may find interesting:
Fueled by extensive market research, Citrix and Cisco are taking different paths towards providing telepresence capabilities to business, education and medical markets. And all of this is fascinating for those of us who find technology fascinating.
But the even more fascinating inquiry – for me, and maybe for you – is wondering how these new holographic capabilities are going to affect our business communication practices and meeting processes.
Telepresence tools – like all of man’s tools – create new possibilities, new environments for human behavior. In so doing, they also create new limitations, new frames of reference that circumscribe behavior. Automobiles, for example, have opened up a whole new “way” of being on the planet – and a whole new set of constraints and hazards, too.
My everyday business requires me to think about new ways I can help my clients take advantage of social media and real-time virtual meeting tools to save time and money – without sacrificing quality outcomes. And every day I run into walls of assumptions about how people can – and should – interact around information and shared tasks together. Face-to-face is hard enough. Then there are the challenges of working together at a distance. . Climbing over the walls of assumptions about “appropriate” interaction in collaborative activities can either liberate groups or tie them up in knots. To be candid, quite often it does both – at first.
So, as I’m reading today about new possibilities for telepresence, I’m both excited about potential new terrain and more curious than ever about the new constraints clients are certainly going to encounter as they move to take advantage of these tools.
It’s going to be fascinating helping human beings look through their assumptions about what someone’s “quasi” physical presence might actually contribute to achieving shared outcomes. And how it might impede that achievement, as well.
So many of us have a Star Trek boy- or girlself who has been longing to be able to “see” and “feel” the semi-physical presence of others in our meetings. There’s no reason to deny it – it’s going to be totally cool!
And, if you haven’t already looked ahead to how having semi-physical presence possibilities is going to affect your communication and collaboration, I invite you this week to consider what you’re going to say and do when you step onto a “holodeck.” How are you imagining you’ll be able to contribute more to a virtual meeting than you can contribute now using FREE web conferencing tools that are already available?
Besides starting out with “Wow! Isn’t this cool? I can hardly believe this is happening…” how will you use telepresence to accelerate the achievement of your meeting objectives? And how will you work around the limitations that “quasi” physical presence may bring to the creation – and sustenance – of shared meaning that groups of human beings require if they’re going to get things done together?
I’d love to hear your thoughts here below or over at Amplify. Take your pick.