Thursday, 25 December 2008
Family gatherings at Christmas
Traditionally families come together at Christmas time. Increasingly some families are dispersed over large distances and travel a long way to come back together to celebrate the festive season. As I am typing this, my Mother-in-law who has travelled 800 miles from Poland to join my wife and I for Christmas and New Year is joining the rest of the family back home by video chat over the internet. They have finished their main Christmas meal 24 hours before, it being the tradition to have that and the opening of presents on Christmas eve there. We have completed our festive meal today but the whole family can see and hear each other using the net.
In the future, there will be an even more natural integration possible online. Haptics and the whole integration of the virtual and real worlds will negate the need for many people to travel to feel that they are with the family. The video chat will not be a time-bounded novelty event but rather an integrated part of life which all parties are used to, and use naturally as if they are physically and geographically co-located. Display technology will mean that the walls of the rooms that people are in can display the remote end video rather than people having to position themselves around a particular device or screen in one particular room.
Whoever you are with this Christmas I wish you a happy time and hopefully you will continue to follow this blog in 2009.