Following up on The Fussy Challenge, we got some answers to the question: From an end-user's point of view, what is the difference between telepresence and videoconferencing?
All readers should know that we're not against the term "telepresence" as it indeed connotes
a human/machine system in which the human uses of head mounted displays and body-operated remote actuators and sensors to control distant machinery an improved experience of a videoconference remote, mediated face to face meeting. We'll weigh in soon with more thinking and opinions about this fussy term and the question we posed, but until then, read some of the responses from a few industry bigtimers. And we extend a big thanks to them for responding. A few industry people ran away from this question like the Road Runner. One Virginia-based consultant wrote in and asked "What do I win for knocking this ridiculous slow pitch softball into the stadium parking lot?"
When we reminded this allstar to respond with 100 words or less, he demurred and wrote back, "Can't do it justice in 100 words or less..." Yes indeed, slugger, to which we say, "What's the fuss?"
Question: From an end-user's point of view, what is the difference between telepresence and videoconferencing?
Munira Fareed, VP of Marketing, LifeSize: Unlike traditional videoconferencing, high definition telepresence is a high quality, immersive, easy to use and easy to manage approach to video communications, and a vivid, life-like quality that videoconferencing has never delivered. Telepresence without high definition is a waste, somewhat like a corporate jet that goes very, very slowly despite its high price tag. Using LifeSize high definition video products, virtually any room can be a telepresence space. This is important because customers want cost-effective solutions that address not only the needs of top corporate leaders, but the rest of the enterprise as well.
Andrew Davis, Managing Partner, Wainhouse Research: Telepresence is a videoconferencing experience in which the design of the system gives the users the sensation that the remote participant is present in the same room. Telepresence involves speciality high quality audio and video subsystems and room designs with proper lighting and sound considerations. From an end user's point of view, videoconferencing provides two-way, real-time audio and video, but does not necessarily remove from his perspective the fact that he is talking to a television image.
Ann Earon, President, Telemanagement Resources International: What makes telepresence different from traditional videoconferencing relates to how the audio, video, document sharing, control systems, room environment, and transport are handled. Telepresence audio quality has no clipping or echo, has the ability to reproduce low and high volume levels and not reproduce others (i.e. a whisper), and has the ability to identify which user is speaking. Videoconferences still lack the clarity of a telepresence system because the images and audio are not as crisp and clear and the technology has not been designed to be completely user friendly. With telepresence technologies users are better able to meet without having to control anything.
Michele Damerau, Product Marketing Manager, Polycom: While Videoconferencing solutions are relatively affordable and the benefits of reduced travel are apparent, video conferencing doesn’t always work. The quality of experience is proportional to my familiarity with the product and the quality of the network. Price: $100 to $18,000 for the video component. Telepresence takes traditional videoconferencing to the next level in that the technology is hidden, the room is comfortable, the video is sharp and the people are truly life-like. Best of all, the VNOC and dedicated circuits ensure that the call is always up and my only responsibility is to conduct my meeting over video. The price is expensive, but well worth the investment.
Steve McNelley, Ph.D. co-Founder of DVE: A camera on top of a TV or computer screen is videoconferencing. It is not telepresence. It is for this that reason our firm several years ago began to refer to our technology as "true" telepresence. Traditional videoconferencing fails in almost every installation, from videophone to million dollar board room to meet the definitional requirements of true telepresence. Most all of our clients have tried traditional videoconferencing systems and know first hand the limitations and the drawbacks of ill concieved human factor design. That is precisely why they choose true telepresence. Once you have experienced true telepresence you will never know for a fact the difference.
Recently Added on October 20:
Ray Siuta, Halo Marketing Manager, HP Comparing HP Halo to traditional video conferencing systems is like comparing a computer to typewriter. While both technologies belong in the market, traditional videoconferencing cannot offer the natural, personal connection Halo provides. With Halo, customers see full-sized images without perceived delay, regardless of physical location. Halo provides the ability to see and hear people’s physical and emotional reactions as they are expressed. In this way, Halo enhances the social connection and collaboration capabilities of remote teams, leading to greater business effectiveness. The real power of Halo arises from the high-bandwidth Halo Video Exchange Network (HVEN), owned and operated by HP.
October 3, 2006