Wednesday, June 12, 2013

'Immersive Telepresence,' videoconferencing on steroids

Most of us have now become accustomed to using our computers and even our phones to make video calls.

Applications such as FaceTime and Skype are generally good, especially considering that they're free. You can usually see the person on the other end, tell who they are and see what they're doing.

There are lots of flaws, however, including tiny cameras that don't make great images and inconsistent sound quality.

Videoconferencing has also been touted as a way that people don't have to travel. One can do business from a distance, and the money saved on time and travel expenses pays for these systems.

That argument sounds good, but I'd never seen a system that really delivered on its promise.

Until last month.

I had an opportunity to participate in a telepresence meeting using a Polycom RPX system. The sexier name is "immersive telepresence."

I had a meeting with people in both New York and Sydney, Australia. We hadn't had great luck with other videoconferencing systems, and I heard about immersive telepresence and was able to set up a meeting.

The rooms are specially designed with identical furniture, lighting, sound and decor. The tables are essentially a half conference table in one room with an identical half table typically thousands of miles away.

We face a wall where high definition television screens project an image of the other conference room in a panoramic view. Of course, the people in the other room thousands of miles away are seeing our room.

Due to many technical aspects — not the least of which were high bandwidth connections that gave crystal clear video and audio signals — the use of the telepresence system was nothing short of amazing.

Our eyes could follow each other and stereo sound enabled us to hear whether the speaker in the other room was on the left or right. All of the bits and pieces worked together to deliver an experience that let us carry on a normal discussion and almost forget that we were almost 8,000 miles apart.

Telepresence systems aren't cheap. But neither was making video phone calls 30 years ago. As this technology continues to drop in price, it will become far more prevalent. Already it can deliver the promise of the ability to save money through not having to travel as frequently, while providing an experience that's very close to being there.

The worst part of the meeting was that in New York it was dinner time, while in Sydney, it was breakfast. The people in Sydney were eating breakfast and it looked good. If we had been able to reach through and take some of the food the Australians were eating, the experience would have been perfect.

I understand someone's working on that.

Mark Mathias, a 30-plus year veteran of information technology and a resident of Westport, Connecticut, was named by Computerworld magazine to their inaugural list of “Premier 100 IT Leaders.” This column was originally published in the Westport News on Wednesday 12 June 2013.


  1. I understand someone's working on that information about Social Networking.

    how to get vine likes

  2. As to the subject of who is additional into weight training amongst ladies and men, there isn't an uncertainty that guys are possessed with working out. about steroids

  3. It would also make the sport more accessible, allowing people to learn more about bodybuilding, and possibly participate themselves. legal steroids best

  4. Is distance learning part of an educational revolution or is it hype? To answer this question, this article examines distance learning in more detail, and concludes that for many students worldwide, distance learning is indeed an educational opportunity of revolutionary proportions.

  5. t is very important for anyone to get aproper perspective of suchan important phenomenona s Globalization. I would muchprefer if it came from Nobel proze winning economists like Joeseph Stiglitz, who ofcourse doesnt find any meniton in Friedman's 600 page tome. Below is the link of the interview Ted Koppel did with Friedman and Stiglitz:

    - anavar cycle

  6. With professional sports contracts paying out millions of dollars for each player every year, a kid's dreams can bring him fame and a pretty big fortune.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. There are a lot of blogs and articles out there on this topic hostpapa coupon , but you have acquired another side of the subject. This is reliable content thank you for sharing it.

  10. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. Virtual Reality

  11. Wow, cool post. I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real hard work to make a great article... but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though. Best mobile phones under 10000

  12. Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information! Foodpanda customer care

  13. I really thank you for the valuable info on this great subject and look forward to more great posts. Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty article with me. I am appreciating it very much! Looking forward to another great article. Good luck to the author! All the best! media speler

  14. This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it, How to make Hand Sanitizer at home

  15. I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy.