As Web conferencing gets better and better, you may find yourself wondering: In a few years, will we still need to travel for business?

In a word, yes. Web conferencing can be an efficient and inexpensive way to work with far-flung clients or co-workers, and as it becomes more popular, it will certainly cut down on business travel. But nothing can completely replace in-person interactions. Most companies will still want at least one face-to-face meeting before signing a big deal, for instance.

The good news is that business travel will likely be less tedious in the future. Airports and airlines are continually looking for ways to improve your experience before, during, and after a flight. And mobile technologies are making great leaps forward so you can get better use out of the downtime that inevitably accompanies travel.

The following fictional narrative imagines what business communications and travel might be like just a few short years from now. We're not talking wearable jetpacks or teleportation -- this is all based on real-world technologies that are in development or beginning to be available now.

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