Early this year I had a chance to visit the telepresence system that HP has set up near by Barcelona and later in a trip to Tokyo I saw the one that Cisco had in a NTT showroom of their new generation network. Both systems are very similar, you have a room with a table in a semicircle and in front of you there are three huge (60 inches, probably) plasma screen where you see the other side of the videoconferencing. The speakers are at full size at the screen and they are sitting in a room exactly like yours (their table seems to complete the semicircle of yours), video quality is great as well as audio. The rooms are somehow set up like movie studios, where the lighting and audio conditions have been carefully set so that you get a very good image and sound. Compared to commonly used videoconferencing systems, the notion of reality is way higher and therefore it is more useful than a regular one. However, the cost is huge, they required dedicated fiber connection to each room and as I mentioned, the room itself has to be decorated in a particular way to increase the sensation that you are with the other people in the same room. At work we are prototyping a videoconferencing system using 3D screens from Philips to increase further the perception of reality. I think that we are seeing the beginning of one trend that will develop during the next ten years, telepresence, videoconferencing were the notion of reality and of being in the same room is much higher and therefore, eventually substitutes face to face meetings. And some of the makes are making sure that you do not miss this trend. Check out the season six of 24 where the president of the United States talks to the president of Russia via a telepresence system from Cisco.