As a remote viewer you see the person talking and as a person in the room you feel like you are in a regular meeting rather than on stage in front of a camera (which does change the meeting dynamic and makes it more social). Granted it doesnt work as well when two remote working groups are trying to converse but it does if individuals are calling in remotely (which I think actually happens far more often).
This brought me to the conclusion that for video conferencing to really catch on it needs to bring something to the table so that people want to use the device rather than are forced to use it to save travel dollars.
Years ago a fellow analyst at Giga Information Group (who is now at Forrester) named Chip Gliedman said TCO total cost of ownership was full of crap (or words to the effect) because it focused people too much on cost and not enough of the benefits associated with a particular task.
He created the more complex and less popular, but arguably much more meaningful, Total Economic Impact metric metric. In video conferencing Total Economic Impact would factor in the cost of not traveling; not just the direct cost of a plane ticket.
In person meetings do a better job of forging relationships than any current video conferencing call. That is the hidden cost of the system and it may exceed by several magnitudes the money saved in some instances.
That means that for the majority of meetings, they arent adequate. But where two working groups need to be in constant sync they are better than a conference phone.
The less expensive CX5000 system is better for meetings where people are calling in remotely, suggesting different tools for different types of meetings. However, until these systems can truly allow you to socially connect with the people at the remote sites they wont obsolete business travel in and of themselves.
However, Ill bet if the H1N1 Virus becomes an epidemic as is currently the expectation, they will get heavy use. In this last instance this is not because they are a better networking solution but because the benefit of staying alive will exceed the benefit of the plane trip.
In the end, however, I think for Telepresence to be successful it needs to embrace social networking and eventually create virtual rooms where people can chat with each other like they would have had they traveled. Only then will Video Conferencing really become Telepresence and make business travel obsolete.