CISCO, the technology company, has just launched a new virtual meeting tool which it hopes will replace typical video conferences links. The product competes directly with Hewlett Packard’s “telepresence” technology which some people say is so realistic they even try to shake hands with people in the meeting. These new technologies use the Internet to transmit high definition TV onto specially positioned screens in meeting rooms. Apparently, users feel as though their colleagues are in the same room, even though they may be thousands of miles away. However, participants will know their colleagues are not present. Technology companies are always excited by technology and often fail to see the human side until non technology companies start to use the products. Knowing someone is present in the room with you involves more human senses than just seeing and hearing. You can smell them, feel their physical movement and touch them. Until telepresence can do all that, it will always be inferior to actual meetings.