Remote Presence Impact on Business Travel

Have you ever wanted to be in two places at the same time? Would it be better for you not to travel as much? Or have you missed important family events because you were either out of town or you couldn’t get there due to time or cost? Remote presence business travel solves these problems!

I would bet that almost everyone has experienced one of these problems in their life if not in the last year. Perhaps even last month. In this blog, I want to explain how remote presence technology can improve your life with less travel. Less travel leads to saving money, saving time, enhancing family relationships, and helping to save the planet.

Remote presence is a new technology that provides an immersive, real-time experience through the use of virtual reality. Parties can be miles away, or even on different continents, and communicate in real-time in an immersed, 360° experience as though you were there. The ‘Host’ party that is in the real space has a consumer-grade, 360° camera attached to a selfie stick and any android device. The ‘guest’ party or parties (up to 5 in the same or different locations) joins the host using an Oculus Go head-mounted display or desktop/laptop computer or a mobile phone. They can then communicate in real-time and the guest can be in the same real space remotely.

Why should one use remote presence for business travel?

1. Increase profits by reducing travel spending

The Global Business Travel Association reported that 1.33 trillion dollars were spent on business travel in 2017. That number is expected to climb to $1.7 trillion by 2022. Just think of the cost savings if even a fraction of this travel spend was eliminated. Remote presence reduces the need to travel which reduces travel costs which reduce operating expenses which increases profits!

2. Save time by reducing out-of-town travel

In the same study mentioned above, the Global Business Travel Association also estimated that there were 445 million business trips in 2018. Reasons for these trips vary from investors viewing properties to engineers inspecting construction projects to insurance adjusters evaluating claims to many other reasons for business travel. The list goes on. Using remote presence, many of these trips can be eliminated. Just think of the time saved from getting to airports, waiting for flights, going to hotels, etc, Now consider the increased productivity resulting from this time savings.

3. Improve family relationships by being present

poll of 2,000 business globetrotters found more than two in five (42 percent) disliked being away from home. A study of World Bank employees detailed the impact of travel stress on families. And CNN recently produced an expose on the impact of business travel on home life.

In the CNN report, Dr. Wendy Walsh, a California-based relationship expert, and author opined that business travel can negatively affect marriages. “The likelihood is too great that the partner who is traveling will have a great deal of separation anxiety and look for another attachment.” Walsh also believes an absent parent can be damaging to children. “Separations like these can cause amazing disruptions to their development as you’re training these kids to have insecure romantic relationships”. While this certainly isn’t true for everyone, the effects can be challenging to family relationships.

4. Save the planet

In a recent study by the United Nations aviation body, researchers found that airplane emissions of carbon dioxide will reach approximately 900 million metric tons in 2018 and are expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2050. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas. However, in a new study by the Council on Clean Transportation, those United Nations estimates were found to be low. The CCT analyzed nearly 40 million flights around the world last year and determined that emissions from global air travel may be increasing more than 1.5 times as fast as the U.N. estimated.

As I traveled 170,000 miles last year and approximately 1,000,000 miles in my career, I can speak from a place of experience. I have traveled to 47 of the 50 states and 18 countries on 3 continents. Most of this travel has been business related. Many people over the years have commented that it must be exciting to travel so much. While it certainly has had many benefits and has exposed me to many cultures, it hasn’t all been a bed of roses.

If I had the opportunity to use remote presence for business travel earlier in my career, I would most likely have eliminated at least 30-40% of those trips. The results would be significant to my wealth, health, and family. Since many of these trips occurred while I owned businesses, I could have increased my profits leading to increased personal wealth. I suspect that I would have had fewer colds and illnesses from airborne germs. I certainly would have eaten healthier at home. And I would not have missed as many of my kid’s events as I did.

There are many exciting benefits of remote presence for business travel and it has great potential to make the world a better place for both businesses and individuals. A world where people can be happier in their relationships and businesses can thrive. How would you use this technology to make your world better?

About the Author

Jim Watson, Head of Business Development

Business leader with 22 years of experience managing, integrating and collaborating with high-performance teams providing mission-critical SaaS and tech-enabled solutions. Previously Sr. VP, Global sales for a multi-national tech-enabled service company operating in 8 countries.

B.B.A University of Iowa, M.B.A. Drake University, Executive Ed Blockchain Program MIT

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