This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

November 21, 2001

Rise in Alternative Communications

When people are reluctant to travel, but still need to communicate and collaborate, they will seek alternative communication opportunities. The needed technology is available but has not enjoyed a particularly high level of use. That usage level will change.

Teleconferencing will increase, in several ways. Meetings and multi- participant coordination will use teleconferences even more than we've seen until now. Those who would customarily travel from city to city to meet will now connect by teleconferences. Telephones will also be used for training. We expect a significant expansion in the use of teleseminars (see note at end of this Trend Alert) internally within companies and applying the services and expertise of outside services.

Videoconferencing has been used within corporations and government agencies for a number of years, with its popularity and effectiveness increasing, as the technology has improved. Some commercial providers, such as Kinko's, have offered videoconferencing on a rental basis. The cost of this technology has dropped dramatically in recent years, building the justification of a vehicle that had been viewed as an overly expensive luxury.

Web-based communication, in real-time, will also increase. The growing technology in this area offers an additional benefit to users, especially corporations. The connection is usually made through local telephone lines, saving a considerable amount of long-distance telephone charges.

All these technologies-and their use-will expand. As they work under new procedures and protocols, people who have been reluctant to communicate through these modern vehicles will be "forced" into adopting new methods. These shifts will stimulate changes in the way companies do business. Communication and collaboration will become more efficient, and people will learn how to function differently. Travel will become less important, and people will learn to communicate and accomplish things in new ways.

This expanded use of communications technology will enable more people to work from remote locations as well as facilitate the growth of telecommuting. As operations are dispersed, the modified need for offices and conference facilities will contribute to a reduction of corporate headquarters space. We'll do business differently and the corporate need for air travel will be forever diminished.

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