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Telepresence will kill airline profits

I don’t know how this escaped my attention last month but Gartner predicted that video telepresence will take away $3.5 billion in revenue from the airline industry by 2012. That’s got to make executives at Delta and US Air wince.

As part of its top 10 predictions for 2009, Gartner predicted that telepresence would replace 2.1 million airline seats per year by 2012. In making this prediction, Gartner declined to estimate how much telepresence is costing airlines today.

Given how ruinous telepresence promises to be for the airline industry, I’m left wondering if the Deltas and US Airs of the world are investing in telepresence themselves. Will executives at airlines try to save money by holding high level meetings via telepresence, or will they stubbornly refuse to adopt this technology and continue to fly to on-site meetings in some symbolic effort to support the business.

Another interesting prediction from Gartner: By the end of 2013, 40% of enterprise knowledge workers will have abandoned or removed their desk phones.  This certainly applies to me. I’d be happy to throw my desk phone in the trash if my employer agreed to subsidize part of the service plan for my iPhone.  As it is, I work from home twice a week, and on those days my iPhone is my only means of telephony.

Hat Tip to John Willis

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