Being Here, Working There

For the filmmakers launching the latest "Shrek" movie, taking a meeting has taken on new meaning.

In fact, it's videoconferencing as never seen before, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg helped Hewlett-Packard design the $350,000 multiscreen system that lets film makers across the globe meet face to face. "It's not all smoke and mirrors," says a smiling Katzenberg. "To be able to see the detail on your face, your expressions — that you're understanding and connecting with what I say — you know, that is part of how we, as humans, communicate."

Celebrity chef Thomas Keller supervises his New York restaurant Per Se from his kitchen in California's Napa Valley.

"I want you guys to try that over in New York and see what you think, OK? Give me some feedback," he recently told employees via videoconference.

Then there is Margaret Hooshmand, a 21st-century video commuter.

After she takes her daughter to school in Texas, she reports to work via videoconference to her cubicle in California, reports Blackstone.

"People act as if I'm there," said Hooshmand. "I mean, they really feel it. And actually, I'm so focused on what's going on there that I forget I'm in Texas."

She works for Cisco, maker of an $80,000 single-screen system. It's so real that people seem to forget Hooshmand is 1,800 miles away.

Hooshmand became an early user of the technology when she moved from California to Texas and her boss, Martin De Beer, didn't want to lose her.

"I can see her through the window when I sit at my desk," said De Beer, vice president of Cisco's emerging markets technology group.

Hooshmand manages De Beer's workload as if she's right next door, with him hardly noticing she's half a continent away.

For businesspeople who have long wished they could be in two places at once, technology is making that almost a reality. The cost may be high — but for big companies, the savings in airline tickets from here to there can make the system almost pay for itself.

  • Alfonso Serrano

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