Imagine to be sitting at your desk and to be speaking to a customer at the opposite side. His voice, appearance and size are absolutely like in the reality, despite the fact that he is remote and speaking through a monitor. This perfectly describes telepresence, one of the emerging trends envisaged by Frost & Sullivan in their latest survey on the web conferencing market.
The name speaks by itself, being it a combination of the suffix “tele” – far – with the substantive “presence”. So, it means literally:“Being present from distance”. Now, an objection rises immediately: what makes the difference with traditional video conferences? Have not they the same function as telepresence, after all?
The trick is the so-called telepresence effect, the ability of rendering voices and faces exactly like in the reality. This is obtained through the utilization of huge HD monitors and appropriate conferencing services and products, like, for example, R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.collaboration-technologies.co.uk/video-conferencing.html) , a suite of high quality on-premise servers purposely designed to assure users the best possible experience with their virtual conferences.
Through an ordinary video conference, it is impossible to get the same level of realism of telepresence: one problem is the size of PC screens, that is too small; other problems are connected to the needs to have high quality HD colour images and sounds, without which the telepresence effect is immediately lost.
The second important keyword to catch is the immersive experience that is possible to get through telepresence. Watching an icon-sized image of somebody talking to you through a small screen is much different from the stunning sensation of having a remote speaker standing right in front of you like in the reality.
In other words, telepresence immerses you so much in your virtual conference that the barrier between what is real and what is virtual becomes so thin that we may consider it as being not existing. Do you feel perplexed? Simply pay a short visit to the above-linked page and have a look at the images to get persuaded.
Why shall we use telepresence? The main benefit is the end of distractions, one of the most annoying problems of traditional video conferences. Another benefit is an increased level of interaction, which is obtained through the high level of visual and audio clarity that only telepresence ensures. This goes far beyond even the best traditional HD video conferencing service, as not only does it rely on the quality of the web conferencing software that is being used, but also on the utilization of big monitors and some other technological equipment.
These are the two reasons why telepresence has become popular in many enterprises. In a global world, meetings are fatally destined to go virtual, with subsequent urgent need for technologies that can ensure a level of interactions as close to the reality as possible. Telepresence does exactly that, and it does it better than ordinary video conferencing.
What about its costs? This much is true, that it is not exactly what they call an inexpensive technology. LifeSize, for example, offers systems starting from £64,000, Cisco from £290,000. R-HUB TurboMeeting is probably the most affordable solution, as you can buy a R-HUB server with less than £1,200.
With TurboMeeting, you will have then to add the prices of monitors and other pieces of equipment to the bill. But you will bring a high-quality telepresence system home without spending an arm and a leg. Plus, you will have a level of security that only on-premise server based web conferencing solutions ensure.
In conclusion, telepresence is one of the most interesting technologies for global companies. It assures users highly interactive and fully immersive meetings that are not as far from those that they have in the real world.