Relationships drive business, and there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions. Videoconference capability was supposed to change this, but has never become an equal alternative. In the coming years, though, the distinction between physical and virtual will blur when it comes to in-person interactions.

Advances in holographic and virtual technology will change what we know and how we view reality. In fact, technology is even altering the circuitry in our brains. Researchers in the virtual reality space have already found that they can trick people into believing something is real, even though it is not.

These changes will lead to a world where it is increasingly difficult to know what is real and what is not. It may seem far-fetched now, but this technology will alter work and the world in profound ways. The technology is in its infancy now, but will begin to leap far beyond the controlled and expensive setups that are currently required. Price will come down, equipment needs will diminish, and this technology will become ubiquitous--and invisible.

The implications of this technology and its variants are practically endless. Here are 7:

  1. Meetings & Town Halls: Imagine a CEO that can sit in one country and be on stage in another fielding live questions from the audience. This will be easy, and the same person could be "on stage" delivering a personalized presentation in location after location without ever getting on a single plane.
  2. Training & Development: Through holographic representation and virtual reality, the world's greatest thought leaders come to you. Organizations and universities will leverage the technology to bring the best facilitators to teach employees everywhere. The best teachers will no longer be limited to the classroom or the Internet to help others.
  3. Virtual Customer Service: Imagine walking into a store and having a question about a product. You can't find anyone so you simply walk over to a booth and a customer service rep appears in front of you to field your question. In the immediate future this image will be controlled by someone in a remote location; further into the future the virtual service reps will be smart programmed to answer responses.
  4. Live Performances: Forget getting spun up when it turns out a performer was lip-syncing. In the future, controversy will be found over holo-syncing. Was the performer even there on the concert stage, or was it just their holographic self? A holographic concert series was even announced recently for the singer Selena (who tragically died over 20 years ago).
  5. Filling in Empty Crowds: Have a bad sports team with nobody in the crowd? Or a poor turnout for a political candidate? No problem. Holograms will be blasted up from every seat so that it looks like a full house.
  6. High Stakes Training: The technology will reduce the need for bodies donated to science. Medical students and doctors will have access to holographic bodies and organs that will be used not just for training, but also to practice a difficult upcoming surgery. Pilots and other technical profession will be immersed in realistic situations that will increase their ability to handle challenging situations in real-life.
  7. Law Enforcement and Military: Some municipalities place cutouts of fake police cars to try to slow down drivers. In the future law enforcement will use virtual technology to create an illusion of a physical presence. This will be possible in military domains as well to create an impression of force for soldiers, planes, and even warships.

Weigh in below. In what other ways do you see virtual and holographic technology changing the world?