Tina, one of our go-getter summer interns, followed up with the HP Halo Collabation system's photos (see blog entry directly below) that were provided by HP to the venerable Wainhouse for their analysis. (We just love her self-starter initiative and gave her a fat raise.) She has a cousin at the Forensic Photography Lab at the FBI. What came back was shocking! HP - you're busted! Here's What We See - Up Close! ...Wainhouse said "the data collaboration screen appears to be showing a video image from a ceiling-mounted camera." O contrare! The angle and lighting are obviously way off, but the real tell showing the contrived, fake photo of a videoconference meeting in progress is the positioning of the guy's thumb: the overhead view, with the guy's thumb away from the front-left wheel, is clearly not the same image as the other one where his thumb is wedged under the wheel of that silly car.
The point of all this? Besides having a little fun and recognizing Tina's excellent sleuth work, we think that the PR marketing of conferencing and the usability of certain features of its promised systems are often under-analyzed, or shall we say not properly analyzed. Authenticity in marketing is in ascendence (or at least the appearance of, like, really real and true authenticity!). So whether it's robot doctors or staged meeting scenes, we're not too quick to buy in. And we still can't believe a company with $84 Billion in yearly revenue would use an automobile as a stage prop to promote telepresence. We can envision their ad copy: "Drive to your videoconference meeting in style."
June 5, 2006