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Conferencing News Blog

We Have No Illusions

Our esteemed friends at Wainhouse Research just released a new report called Telepresence 2007 - Taking Videoconferencing to the Next Frontier. We think that's a balanced and accurate title for this segment of the videoconferencing market but we would like everyone to agree with the Trekkies that space is the final frontier. End-users considering high-end videoconferencing systems should check out what looks to be a thorough report by Wainhouse Research.

Of course, as many a past blog post has suggested, no one from our point of view has been able to simply answer the question: From an end-user's point of view, what is the difference between telepresence and videoconferencing? As we said last week, we think end-users will always call videoconferencing "videoconferencing" because that's what it still is even if its image and sound quality improve.

In reading the teaser for Wainhouse Research report, the introduction states: "What is the difference between telepresence and videoconferencing"? Juicy!!!!!! Our eyes are wide open! Please, WR, continue!!! ...Wainhouse Research goes on to offer a definition of this hyped marketing term.

Drum roll please...

Wainhouse Research definition of telepresence: "A videoconferencing experience that creates the illusion that the remote participants are in the same room with you."

HOLY TOMATOES, BATMAN! Don't some in the industry call something that collects dust in the corner of the conference room a videoconferencing experience? It seems Cisco (mantra: "it's not videoconferencing") just got repudiated with WR calling telepresence a "videoconferencing experience." We couldn't agree more: telepresence is a videoconferencing experience, and that's how end-users will define it as well.

We can't sign on to the "creates the illusion" part of the Wainhouse Research definition of telepresence. In reality there is no true "illusion" that the remote participants are in the same room, though it's certainly life-like. The remote participants images may be clear, their voices may be modulated well, but no one is under an "illusion" that they're in the same room together. And if they were, it would take all of 30 seconds into a meeting for a spitball to splat on a monitor to shatter this illusion, and we all know spitballing is a serious productivity problem in corporate America.

But let's not quibble, because there is a new product set of high-end videoconferencing systems on the market in the telepresence segment, and our end-user readers might want to check out the Wainhouse Research Segment Report on Telepresence.