What’s New with Meetings Technology? Advanced Teleconferencing
By Corbin Ball
This is the fourth in this week’s blog series on new and interesting meetings technologies. I am covering the winner and the four finalists of the EIBTM 2006 Worldwide Watch for Technology Innovation (WWTW --see the first blog for this week – September 24 - for more details).
Videoconferencing has not really hit the mark over the years. Yes, the costs have plummeted by using the internet instead of satellites. Yes, the reliability, quality and access have vastly improved. Yes, you can take a $40 webcam and be up and running on your computer in a few minutes.
But why isn’t everyone using videoconference technology?
Part of the reason, I believe, is that it is such a pale match to face-to-face meetings. We look at each other on postage stamp sized images simultaneously watching disembodied heads on a TV. There is not eye-contact; there is not sense of really being there.
This is where telepresence can help. Telepresence is the virtual recreation of a person’s image, full size, full color, full motion, eye-to-eye as if the person were sitting across the table from you or standing behind a lectern on the dais before a group.
Teleportec (www.teleportec.com) a finalist in this WWTW’06 award is a telepresence application. Teleportec enables a speaker from anywhere in the world to appear before an audience anywhere else in the world—life-size, life-like, real-time, face-to-face and totally natural in apparent 3-D. The speaker and the audience see each other as if the speaker were physically present at the event.
It uses standard high-end videoconference equipment and high-speed data lines. The speaker is in a darkened booth with a "teleprompter" like viewing screen and can see the audience in many ways better that if he or she were on the stage live. If a person asks a question from the audience, a camera providing the feed to the teleprompter can be zoomed in providing a much better view than in a live situation.
This product takes teleconferencing to a new level using a novel way to use existing technology. As broadband, Internet 2, and high-definition television work their way into mainstream society, the video conference experience will improve dramatically. Teleportec provides and interface to make the experience even more realistic.