It's Almost Like Being There
The growing telepresence market continues to attract major players, and Cisco Systems is now among them with the unveiling of a high-end solution designed to mimic the experience of a real time, face-to-face meeting. Cisco's TelePresence Meeting solution is available for both large and small meetings and works over an Internet Protocol (IP) network to deliver all the nuances of an in-person meeting--right down to the raise of an eyebrow or the loosening of a tie.
TelePresence Meeting bridges the communication gap common to conference calls through high-definition video and sound, including large-screen plasma televisions that portray meeting participants in life-size. Spatial audio systems and advanced cameras that provide eye-to-eye contact further the feeling of a true face-to-face meeting. Plus, scheduling a meeting is as simple as sending an invitation from a user's calendar application.
Marthin De Beer, VP and general manager of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology group, says the TelePresence solution catapults the concept of virtual communications to a new level. "This will profoundly change the way people communicate," he predicts.
But not in a good way, claims Marc Trachtenberg, co-founder and CEO of Teliris, a leading telepresence provider to Fortune 1000 and FTSE 100 companies. He calls Cisco's TelePresence solution "a first-generation product" with significant compromises and limitations. Cisco officials declined to respond to Trachtenberg's comments.
TelePresence Meeting is currently available in two models: The TelePresence 1000 ($79,000) is designed for small meetings and one-on-one conversations, while the TelePresence 3000 ($299,000) is geared for meetings of 12 or more people.
In The News
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