Voice-Over IP needs to be researched a bit more. This is one of the key contributors to offshoring.
A few months ago, as I was telling someone that IT development, unlike manufacturing a few decades ago, has almost no transport costs. You can open a VPN or a secure FTP link and send this data. The excuse I got this time was, “you need to sit down next to someone to discuss design.” Then with a very sarcastic tone of voice, “you can’t do that over a secure FTP link.”
Face to face meetings, while I agree are necessary, are becoming possible over long distances easily. Do you know how long it takes me to have a face-to-face conversation from London with my brother in San Diego? It takes a few minutes. The cost is a quick download of Yahoo or MSN Messenger (or a host of other apps, which aren’t as popular).
The whiteboard is perfect for prototyping. Spend $50 on a graphics pad if drawing with a mouse is too difficult. Pricey, but not if you consider the few hundred bucks and a couple of days time to fly trans-Atlantic.
The time is perfect for offshoring. We are getting to the point that the only great barrier to distance is time zones. If you can get up in the middle of the night, the world is your oyster.
I have been known to talk to family in California and follow it with a video conference in China and then watch the San Diego Padres play in Chicago all from my living room in England. The world of broadband. Tom Peters said it in Circle of Excellence: Distance is Dead. Where will we all be in five years time?