It's easy to be cynical about IT demos. Part of the problem is that more often than not, seem to break down. I've lost count of the demos that have resolutely obeyed Murphy's Law - it seems to have been a particular problem with Microsoft demos but other vendors aren't exempt.

The other problem is that risks are kept to a minimum. PCs are connected to PCs next door to each other over a high speed LAN. But the GoToMeeting demo that showed the integration of HD Faces over the public Internet was actually pretty cool.

There were a few things that were impressive about the GoToMeeting demonstration- it wasn't so much the fact that the videoconferencing was of such high quality but the fact that it was being produced using standard kit, bog-standard PC and off-the-shelf webcam, and, of course, over the Internet.

But perhaps even more importantly was the recognition that the webconferencing needed the input of other media too. These are certainly exciting times for any collaboration product, this is not new and it's certainly not restricted to Citrix,Cisco, for example, is very keen to promote the importance of video and collaboration for the company's future.

However, there's a neat tie-in between virtualisation and the sort of the flexible working employed by the likes of The Co-op Group, winners of the Citrix Innovation Award. That's no coincidence according to Bernd Christiansen, the CTO of Citrix Online.

It's about the broader cultural shift of working. The next generation want to work in a different way. Tools like GoToMeeting are part of that process,” he says.

He also points out that GoToMeeting is a different sort of application from most that are are employed with organisations. “Usually applications are provided by IT departments, but GoToMeeting is different, the impetus comes from the bottom upwards - from the employees - not from the top downwards.”

These are often the same people who driving the use of social media within organisations. What's going to be more interesting is what's going to happen with the likes of GoToMeeting when it gets integrated with social media - something that Christensen says is the next step. “We need to be able import info from social networks. How useful would it be if, when you fire up a videoconference with me, you could click on my LinkedIn profile and you can see my career history and my connections?

It's just about social networking though. The company is also looking to integrate chat/Instant messaging applications into the product - something that used to be frowned on in corporate environments- but is now increasingly finding itself used by business.

The Citrix Synergy focused heavily on technology but there were plenty of references to the changing world of employment practices too. It's become glib to talk about flexible working but many of the Citrix initiatives have been designed to support a brand new way of working. GoToMeeting is one example of what happens when the two worlds collide and the steps being taken are an encouraging sign for the future.

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