The buzz is growing around Web conferencing, but you’ve got to listen closely to hear it.
Since the futuristic dreams of the “picture phone” first appeared in the 1960s, engineers have aspired to blend voice, data and video into a single service.
It’s arrived, but the emerging reality is that businesses use conferencing for limited purposes, not as a broad communications medium. Consumer use is still years away.
A conferencing application that might be ideal for a training meeting is often inadequate for an interactive sales presentation or a product design summit. Success comes from exploiting niches, not serving waves of demand. And any notion that conferencing would spur Web usage like instant messaging did for e-mail is misplaced.