With the proliferation of smart phones, tablets, cameras on notebook computers, virtual mediation was inevitable. Virtual mediation is simply mediation conducted online, rather than in person. The benefits are numerous.
Convenience: Sometimes it is difficult for people to get away from their jobs, homes, families, etc. Virtual mediation allows them to avoid traveling to mediation. When caucus mediation is conducted, there is a lot of "down time" for the participants. With virtual mediation, the participants can continue on with their daily business while the mediator meets with the other side. The mediator can then email the other parties when he or she is ready to meet with them again.
Cost: Travel, hotels, being away from one's office all have financial and emotional costs. Virtual mediation does away with all of these costs.
New parties: Sometimes it appears during the course of mediation that information from another individual would be helpful. For example, consider a property owner's dispute with a contractor. Perhaps the contractor was not present when the problem occured. The mediator could contact the contractor's employee and have him join the mediation on his or her smart phone.
Comfort: Being on one's "home turf" is always more relaxing than being in someone else's office. In addition, there are circumstances when it is not beneficial to have both parties in the same room, or even the same building. In domestic cases, this can be especially useful.