Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, the standard for connecting computers in a network, says that the promise of video is to limit the need of physical meeting which means less travel and greater energy conservation.  He told me that this could be a "huge benefit to all mankind."

I taped this interview with Dr. Metcalfe last September in the MIT Museum at the kick-off party for the Technology Review annual conference.  It is the most popular video ever posted on Beet.TV. I am pleased to repost it and I hope you enjoy viewing it.

Online video platforms from video chat to web meeting programs are emerging and gaining a growing audience.  I believe that we are at just at the beginning of the transformation that Dr. Metcalfe envisions. 

Soon, live, streaming video, with the qualities of broadcast television, will be accessible to all with a browser and broadband connection.  It’s being pioneered by the folks at Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Cisco, the CDN’s and others — we will cover this closely in the months ahead. 

It’s all happening.  Just think, I can shrink my carbon footprint with my handy Panasonic!

— Andy Plesser

Please feel free to grab the embed code of this interview.

Update:  August 23

To demonstrate the point, check out today’s New York Times article about the availability of cheap and good quality Web conferencing and chat through Skype, AIM and Xbox.  It’s all getting within our reach!

Update: August 26


The Economist has a story about the high end of video conferences from HP and Cisco. 
and yes, video conferencing is environmentally friendly:

There are environmental benefits too: according to HP, eliminating one round-trip journey between New York and
London saves 3,000lb (1,361kg) of carbon dioxide—roughly as much as 90 cars emit
in a day. Telepresence meetings between farther-flung destinations, or involving
more people, would result in even bigger environmental savings.