But what if we take a stab at connecting dots that are a bit further apart?
Don't expect these to be on anybody's roadmap for next quarter, but who knows what the future might hold?
Physical object manipulation
I have one client who uses virtual classes to train auto mechanics, and obviously there are things you can…and can't…learn about fixing cars in a virtual classroom. But doctors are remotely controlling robots now, and the sex industry has toys that help people <censored> at a distance (sorry, no NSFW links on this one). Who's to say a that some other physical part of the virtual classroom experience couldn't eventually be replicated?
Second Life and some virtual event platforms are creating more immersive experience. And your Wii and other technologies are recognizing finer and finer physical expressions. Might it be that your avatar begins to respond like you do?
Wait…but don't we have video?
Yes, but as a presenter, how many discrete little video heads can you look at? It's certainly not hundreds of them, whereas there could be alternative ways for presenters to look out over the audience and "read" them.
Screenless or augmented-reality
Holograms have been around awhile, but they're obviously not part of the virtual meeting experience yet. Manufactures are working on screenless devices, people are working on controlling things with brain implants, and Google Glasses are challenging what we think of as a computer display.
Your virtual classroom exercise of having people walk around a room, find a partner, and pair up on a project could take on a whole new sense of spatiality.
If the virtual meeting environment took on a whole new sense of spatiality, people will transfer the status of sitting at the head of the conference table into the virtual realm, no? If it ain't okay to sit in the bosses chair now, well…
Virtual office hours
I've actually been preaching for years that this is a tactic may sales and services teams could use with current technology, but imagine a more literal (did I just say that?) office front with an "Open" sign and invitation for your prospect to walk in and start chatting with you. Just don't forget to make sure the virtual front desk assistant is kind and welcoming with a virtual candy dish and flowers.
Oh, they want to buy? Just have them wave their mobile phone in the air to pay the bill.
Auto record, store, and index
People are already working on projects that would digitally catalog every breath of someone's life. Before someone figures out how to market their 213 petaflop-sized life story, though, someone else is going to think it useful to auto record every spoken word every other iota of audio/visual/inter activity in a way that automatically transcribes, catalogs, metatags, and indexes everything in the meeting or virtual conference.
Security gets better all the time, but I could still use your login creds in the right circumstances. Thumbprint? Retina scan? Actually, I think there is a version of this in existence already for the military, but it's not readily available for the rest of you who might need to verify the identity of participants.
Today the board meeting sends a minion out to bring back lunch, but what about...
"Siri, find the latest analyst recommendations and tell us the average of their projections, and have a pepperoni pizza delivered to each person in this meeting, and send my calls for the next hour to Julie.
Oh, and have Roger get back to blogging about something I can use today."
This can't be all the possibilities. What are you thinking?