Virtual meetings taking off as travel budgets feel the squeeze

Businesses continue to opt for virtual meetings at the expense of air travel according to figures from a leading web meetings specialist.

Cisco Webex is claiming a 42% increase in business in the past year against a backdrop of falling air passenger figures as reported by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Cisco Webex UK manager Natalie Butler anticipated the trend would continue as companies seek to reduce costs during the economic downturn.

“Relying solely on emails and phone calls doesn’t allow for the various levels of interaction that in-person meetings bring. Web collaboration on the other hand allows you to see who you’re talking to, share documents and work as a team.”

The figures are supported by a recent report from market analyst Gartner, which listed the growth of video telepresence as one of its top 10 predictions for 2009.

The analyst believes telepresence is set to replace 2.1 million airlines seats per year by 2012 with an annual lost of US$3.5 billion to the travel industry.

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