Technology in Conventions

We had a convention for cataract and refractive surgeons held here in Manila just 2 days after Typhoon Frank wreaked its havoc. Because of this, some of the invited foreign speakers were hesitant to show up for the convention itself. Fortunately for us, through the wonder of modern technology, we were still able to have a live lecture with them through including the post lecture question and answer portion, through Web Conferencing. So, even if they were not physically present, they were still able to deliver a most informative lecture.

We were also able to witness live cataract surgery on actual patients even if we were not in the operating room itself. I am no techie, so I do not exactly know how they did it, but they managed to put some equipment, so that images of the surgeon and of the view through the operating microscope could be seen. This is done somewhat like a Conference Call, I believe. The moderator talks to the audience at large and the surgeon himself before the operation. The surgeon then keeps a running commentary on what he is doing at the moment. After the operation is done, the surgeon then accepts questions from the audience and answers them as best as they can.

Technology has improved so greatly that even Conference Calls can be done without actually seeing each other. I wonder if there will come a time telecommuting will be the norm and "office-mates" will no longer see other "live"?