That's Gartners' #1 prediction in their 2009 survey of key trends in technology - and you can see why. According to Gartner, high-definition based video meeting solutions will replace 2.1 million airline seats annually, costing the travel and hospitality industry $3.5 billion per year.
They go on to observe that while there will always be strong cultural and other reasons for face-to-face encounters, not every meeting needs to be face-to-face.
The transition is already underway. It's already common for software demonstrations - particularly for cloud computing based applications - to be conducted on line.
Few of us can have missed the relentless (to the point of being unavoidable, not to mention tedious) promotional campaigns from the on-line meeting vendors about how sales costs can be reduced through this means.
And if you were determined to get caught between that rock and another hard place, what about the $40bn high-tech business unit (and a former employer of mine) who requires that all travel requests get approved personally by the head of the BU. Better have a pretty well-argued reason, I imagine...
Other than avoiding airline shares, how else are we to react? I think we need to understand where our prospects will accept remote selling, and where face to face interactions are necessary to develop trust - and when we do get face to face with our prospects, we had better make that meeting so valuable to them that they would have been prepared to pay us for it.
Face to face meetings are wasted on one-way pitches. It's encumbent on all of us to ensure that we use them as a real opportunity to bond and learn.