The Pervasive 2008 TPC meeting on Saturday was held distributed over 3 continents and linked via video conference. In Germany we had a really good time slot (12:00 to 20:00) – Australia and California had a really late/early day.
The meeting worked well over video and considering the saved travel time it seems this is a acceptable alternative to a full physical meeting. It was interesting to see that the video conferencing quality did not really improve much over the last years. We ran the TPC meeting for Ubicomp 2003 between the UK and the USA also with a video conference system. And my first projects (in 1996) I worked on as a student researcher at the University of Ulm were on video conferencing, too.
It seems that over the last 10 years it has gotten much easier to set a conference up and interoperability seems less of issue, but the quality is still poor (even with the professional systems). I wonder if we should look with a master thesis into the topic again – all the topics like high quality AV, context-awareness, sharing, informal exchange, side channels, etc. appear still not to be there yet… or is the setting we used (google docs for sharing, edas as document repository, skype for side channel communication, and a professional video conference system) the natural way this develops?