New age of conferencing
I read an article about a new way that companies are cutting costs when it comes to meetings. An increasing number of firms are starting to use a “new” technology for video conferencing: Telepresence. Simply put, it is the next generation of video meetings.
The idea of telepresence has been around for a long time. The first company that got formed in 1993, Teleport, started the real move towards implementing this technology. The company ended up shutting down and being sold to Polycom, the leader in conferencing technology.
For now the telepresence equipment is being put into big boardrooms of large companies. The system consists of a big wrap around screen or multiple little screens that are supposed to create an immersive 3D experience. The screen or screens work in collaboration with sophisticated cameras that track every movement of the individuals in the room. This allows for a very life like experience that phone and Skype conferencing don’t provide.
I think that that this technology will become essential for companies in the near future. The companies that have adopted it have come back with a great deal of positive feedback. The travel costs for their company is greatly decreased, since the installment of the system. There was no way of really getting around traveling up until now. Since face-to-face interaction is very important in the business world, employees would travel to meet with people. This is so that they would be able to read body language, which really isn’t possible with things such as Skype, due to the mediocre video quality. Telepresnce not only allows the businessmen to read body language better, but it also creates a life like atmosphere. Another essential part of business meetings.
The next generation video conferencing also increases the company’s productivity by increasing the productivity of their employees. They don’t have to endure long travel and can take care of many meeting from one place, which saves them a great deal of time. If they can take care of many things from their main location of employment, then in turn their work/ life balance greatly improves. Again increasing the productivity. Another positive to using telepresnece is the ability for the company to decrease its carbon footprint. By decreasing its carbon footprint the company could become more desired by others who are interested in the increasingly popular topic of global warming and pollution.
Although there is a great deal of positives, there are also a few negatives that come with the switch to telepresnece. Cost is really the only main negative. The costs for installing the system range form 200,000 to about 500,000 dollars. It all depends on how many seats the boardroom is supposed to have. To help out with this problem, until the installation becomes cheaper, the service providers have created public meeting rooms. The interested party can rent these rooms for about 5,000 dollars an hour. Another two rare downsides to this system are that for now, hackers are able to get into it and the potential for failure, but like a lot of technology, it will improve over time.
Overall the pros of the system greatly outweigh the cons and this system is expected to take over in about 5 years.