Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Telepresence

What is Telepresence?

Telepresence is an advanced form of teleconferencing which will provide for high resolution video and audio across high bandwidth IP based networks. According to John Chambers, CEO and President of Cisco Systems, Telepresence will become common within in year.
Telepresence will be a key collaboration tool for global companies, having operations in various part of the world to help collaborate better with employees in different part of the world and customers. Consider an example of a patient who can discuss his problems with the doctor sitting 2000 miles away from his desktop using a Webcam. This would be great if there is no physical examination involved and the quality of the video is good enough.
Telepresence will require a good broadband connectivity and an application running on the desktop which can provide voice and video to the user. Developing one secure application which can deliver both of these with good quality will be a challenge for the manufacturers.
The key message for Telepresence is Quality, which according to John Chambers will be as good as face-to-face conversation.

What are the benefits of Telepresence?

With Telepresence, home consumers can access high resolution content at any time and any place. Telepresence will also benefit business consumers by providing better collaborative functions. The biggest benefit for global companies will be the savings in costs since Telepresence will be utilizing the internet as a medium. When we talk of using the internet as a medium the obvious question arises for security. Telepresence will be designed to provide a proper level of security over the data transmitted on the internet. No company would like to have its internal board meeting hacked by an outsider and published publicly.

The challenge for Telepresence

Setting up an video or audio sharing over a shared network like the internet is in itself a daunting, considering a loss of a single packet would mean missed frames in videos and dropped words in audio adding up to end-user frustration.
The second challenge would be a cultural challenge, whereby asking people to change their existing habits to use the new technology. For example, how many people would be willing to use the computer to make a local phone call?

Where can I find more information on Telepresence?

The video of John Chambers talking about Telepresence can be seen here.

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