Telepresence is the next generation of video conferencing that creates a lifelike audio and video session between different locations. With life-size video images and life-like audio quality, telepresence takes the idea of web conferencing to a new level.
With multiple codecs, cameras, monitors, and speakers, a video conferencing telepresence room promotes more collaboration and better interaction between attendees of a meeting. Leading brands like Polycom and Cisco put these equipment behind a video wall or a large monitor panorama to create the telepresence effect in a room.
The video wall or monitor panorama is also supplemented with a high-quality audio tool for better speech tone and clarity. The result is a lifelike video conferencing experience with outstanding audio and video quality.
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Telepresence rooms have received a lot of traction over the last few years owing to their benefits. Set-up and operation costs may seem higher in the beginning, but if the telepresence room is designed with these specifications, then the overall expense can be lowered significantly:
Accurate Furniture Design
A half U-shaped table with gentle curve needs to be aligned specifically to respective displays and the cameras. The seats have to be fixed in proper alignment with the camera, so that there is no delay in conferencing due to misplacement of seating arrangements.
You need to have a fair idea about the number of seating arrangements to be made. The number of seating areas should be limited to ensure the perfect eye-to-eye contact. The ideal seating plan is for three to ten people in the video conferencing telepresence room.
High Resolution Displays
For high resolutions displays, multiple LED TVs/monitors can also be used. Wall projectors ensure an immersive video conferencing experience, but can be a bit expensive if you are looking for a video conferencing telepresence room at a low cost.
High Bandwidth for Several Codecs
The bandwidth should be high to ensure smooth sharing of feeds across multiple cameras and codecs. As several codecs are utilizing bandwidth at the same time for broadcasting feeds, high bandwidth is mandatory.
Advanced Audio Engineering
The constraint of seating arrangement in a telepresence room demands specific audio design. The audio design should be such that the audibility is not affected for any participant. Multiple microphones with digital audio mixers can ensure high sound quality.
Along with the demand for software-based video conferencing, there is also an inclination towards immersive telepresence systems.
Key Players in the Development of Immersive Telepresence Rooms
Cisco, along with Huawei and Polycom have developed immersive telepresence room designs with a sizeable price tag. Back in 2006, Cisco introduced the concept of telepresence room, but it was quite expensive. With further research and development, Cisco and other big market players have developed immersive telepresence rooms for different business segments.
Innovations Helped in Its Popularity
Innovations have further improved the immersive collaboration experience, and have influenced senior executives and board members of an enterprise to invest in telepresence rooms. Costs of installation, power and room remediation have also reduced with vendors taking care of all these processes by themselves.
Recent Studies are leading to Telepresence Revolution
According to a recent study conducted under the Carbon Disclosure Project, businesses in the USA and Europe can cut carbon dioxide emission by 5.5 million metric tons if they substitute business travels with telepresence room collaboration. In the dynamic world, businesses can collaborate globally from the telepresence room, without any need of travelling frequently across geographies.
An immersive telepresence solution aims towards creating an impression that all video connected participants are sitting in the same room. Video conferencing telepresence rooms provide these essential features to ensure an immersive collaboration solution:
Life Size Images
Life size images are possible in video conferencing telepresence rooms, by showing all participants on the same screen. If the number of participants are greater than the screen real estate, then the voice activation is used to switch video between active users.
Better Eye Contact
Cameras are aligned to the eye level of each participant to ensure perfect eye contact and higher engagement. An impression is created of people interacting face-to-face by maintaining eye contact.
The background consistency can be created by projecting all components on a transparent screen. This prevents any chance of difference between backgrounds of video-connected participants. And thus, the immersive collaborative experience is ensured.
The audio and image location is matched by directional speakers in a telepresence room that has multiple screens.
An immersive telepresence effect is created, so that participants don’t have to raise their voice or strain their eardrums to communicate smoothly. A sound-proof telepresence room needs to be designed with special ceiling, floor and wall finishes to reduce echo. Directional speakers will further reduce echo and ensure audio clarity.
With horizontal lighting arrangement in the video conferencing telepresence room, faces of participants are illuminated and clarity of communication is achieved.
Telepresence is a great communication tool for businesses in the present time. High definition video collaboration through multimedia channels has the following benefits:
Enhanced Global Collaboration
It ensures better collaboration of employees, clients, partners, vendors and customers spread across the globe via high resolution video images and better audio quality. Especially when different teams are working remotely on a complex project, exchange of ideas can be possible in a hassle-free manner with immersive telepresence solutions.
Ease of Global Training and Hiring
It reduces the travel needs by providing a virtual collaborative platform. Also, as managers, board members and executives can meet on the same platform to take key business decisions quickly. All participants can communicate in a hassle-free manner and help in taking critical decision related to the launch of a new product or market expansion.
An Eco-Friendly Technology
Telepresence technology reduces the need of travel, and thus, helps in reducing the carbon emission from vehicles and airlines. With organizations becoming more aware of their environmental responsibility, this technology seems to provide the best solution.
Effective Communication with Greater Engagement
By ensuring a perfect eye contact among participants, the telepresence technology promotes effective communication and greater engagement. The audio quality is also better with telepresence technology, preventing any chance of echo or noise.
Improved Work-Life Balance
With the ease to attend meetings or even work from home, employees can enjoy a better work-life balance. Also, they don’t need to travel across geographies for a client meeting, thus saving a considerable time.
Telepresence has evolved as the modern way for collaborative work in a global setup. An immersive experience of higher collaboration and better conversation is offered through ground-breaking innovations in the field of telepresence technology.
A telepresence room stands for a conference room that is dedicated to high-resolution video conferencing with life size images and high-end audio features. In a telepresence room, multiple high-definition cameras are used with eye-tracking features and directional cameras for an immersive videoconferencing experience.
An immersive telepresence solution creates an impression that all video-connected participants are sitting in the same room. With the use of techniques like life size images, eye contact, background consistency, acoustics, audio, lighting, etc., an immersive telepresence experience is created.
Telepresence and video conferencing are often used interchangeably, but in reality, there are certain major differences between the two. In an optimized telepresence room, all participants are faced towards the screen and are visible in life-size high definition. It ensures simplicity of video conferencing with not much complicated technology involved. High-end codecs are used for high-resolution images.
Video conferencing, on the other hand, runs with complicated technology. The lighting and audio are not optimized sometimes.
The telepresence technology simulate live meetings and allow a user to connect with another user with life size images and eye contact. On the contrary, virtual presence (virtual reality) just creates an impression of the user being in a simulated environment. The major difference between immersive telepresence and virtual reality lies in terms of the entity on the other end. There is a computer on the other end in the case of virtual presence, but a real environment in the case of immersive telepresence.
Telepresence endpoint is a uniquely-addressable point on a telepresence meeting network that allows participants to engage in a call with another telepresence endpoint. If explained broadly, telepresence endpoint is a camera, monitor and codec used for any telepresence meeting.