I know what you want. You’d like me to pull a technological rabbit out of my hat – an easy solution to the problem with air travel. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. No rabbits here. None of today’s technologies are full-on replacements for travel. They’ll never replace that je ne sais quoi one gets with a face-to-face meeting, and they’re never, ever likely to replace the serendipity of a conference as typified by that unexpected introduction in a hallway or the ‘eureka’ experience of plans hatched on the back of a napkin.
However, there are alternatives – many you’ve probably heard of before: web-based meeting systems like WebEx or Meeting Place, collaborative workspaces like SharePoint or Groove, simple document-sharing like Google’s ‘Docs and Spreadsheets’, audio teleconferencing and video teleconferencing, or even so-called ‘virtual reality’ systems like Second Life.