How Improving Video Technology Could Change the Way We Travel

Bringing people together at a distance

  • New gadgets may make travel superfluous. 
  • Logitech's new video calling booth is intended to make it look like you are sitting across from a person who's far away.
  • Some experts say that video technology will never fully replace physical travel.
A person standing inline with a suitcase at an airport that's nearly empty.

Dima Berlin / Getty Images

A slew of new video technologies means you soon might not need to step onto a crowded airplane. 

Logitech is reportedly working on a next-generation video-calling booth called Project Ghost that's designed to make it feel like you are sitting in the same room as the person you are chatting with. Experts say that high-tech video calls and other gadgets may further reduce the appeal of stale airline peanuts and high gas prices. 

"When the pandemic hit in 2020, businesses were forced to adapt when people were unable to meet in person, and many tech and software companies took the opportunity to develop solutions that continue to make working from anywhere possible," Kristen Goldberg, the director of marketing for electronics manufacturer Canon U.S.A., told Lifewire in an email interview. "As we have settled into the new normal, we're continuing to realize the benefits of these new technologies, like less stress, time, and costs that would be spent organizing the logistics and arrangements needed for travel."

Video as Travel Technology

There's no release date set for Logitech's Project Ghost, but the gadget works by putting a piece of glass at an angle between a standard display. A camera is positioned directly behind the glass to create the illusion of eye contact. 

Someone having a conversation in a Google Project Starline booth.


Logitech isn't the only company trying to make high-tech videoconferencing a replacement for travel. Google's Project Starline is an experimental communications method that allows the user to see a 3D model of the person they are talking with. The current iteration of Starline is a booth that the user sits in, facing a large display surrounded by depth sensors, cameras, and lights.

"Imagine looking through a sort of magic window, and through that window, you see another person, life-size and in three dimensions," Google wrote on its blog. "You can talk naturally, gesture, and make eye contact."

The future of remote communications may be about more than just high-tech video solutions. Troy Jensen, the senior manager of global accounts at audio manufacturer Shure, told Lifewire in an email that the company has seen a sales boost from remote users who want to invest in high-quality audio and external microphones. 

"Everyone talks about a video being the most important element of a virtual meeting, but a meeting cannot happen without clear audio," Jensen added. "Having high-quality audio helps ensure your message is heard by all participants and is necessary for maintaining participants' attention on the subject matter you are presenting."

How Does Video Tech Change Travel? 

Goldberg said video conferencing and related solutions have been vital over the past few years to help make travel less necessary. Video chat apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become ubiquitous. 

New collaboration tools can be layered on chat software to enhance the remote experience. For example, AMLOS is a camera and software package that allows in-person participants to identify objects or areas of the room using simple hand gestures, offering a high-res image to remote participants through a user interface that can be personalized to their preference. "This gives remote users better visibility in the room that they wouldn't ordinarily get without physically being there," Goldberg said. 

Virtual reality (VR) is another new technology that is helping to reduce the need to travel by enabling face-to-face communication and training in virtual spaces. The Meta Quest 2 headset offers several apps, like Horizon Workroom, designed for remote meetings. Several virtual travel apps also let VR users explore new destinations. 

Someone speaking at a virtual meeting in a home office with two computer screens.

SDI Productions / Getty Images

Despite these new technologies, Justin Crabbe, the CEO of Jettly, a private jet charter company, insisted in an email that physical travel is here to stay. 

"As technology evolves, so do our options for travel," Crabbe said. "In the future, we can expect more automated experiences that are tailored to our individual needs as well as improvements in virtual reality technology, which will make it easier for us to explore remote locations without leaving our homes. However, physical travel will remain an important part of connecting with people and experiencing different cultures. It is not likely to become outdated any time soon."

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