Make your Virtual Conferences look like real life Meetings through Telepresence

March 14th, 2017 by ali No comments »

Telepresence assures conference attendants  a fully immersive, totally interactive and absolutely distraction-free experience . That really makes the difference with traditional video conferences. For these reasons, this technology is gaining ground in global companies environment. 

Imagine to be sitting at your desk and to be speaking to a customer at the opposite side.  His voice, appearance and size are absolutely like in the reality, despite the fact that he is remote and speaking through a monitor. This perfectly describes telepresence, one of the emerging trends envisaged by Frost & Sullivan in their latest survey on the web conferencing market.

The name speaks by itself, being it a combination of the suffix “tele” – far – with the substantive “presence”. So, it means literally:“Being present from distance”. Now, an objection rises immediately: what makes the difference with traditional video conferences? Have not they the same function as telepresence, after all?

The trick is the so-called telepresence effect, the ability of rendering voices and faces exactly like in the reality. This is obtained through the utilization of huge HD monitors and appropriate conferencing services and products, like, for example, R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com/v5/video-conferencing.html) , a suite of high quality on-premise servers purposely designed  to assure users the best possible experience with their virtual conferences.

Through an ordinary video conference,  it is impossible to get the same level of realism of telepresence: one problem is the size of PC screens, that is too small; other problems  are connected to the needs  to have high quality HD color images and sounds, without which the telepresence effect is immediately lost.

The second important keyword to catch is the immersive experience that is possible to get through telepresence. Watching an icon-sized image of somebody talking to you through a small screen is much different from the stunning sensation of having a remote speaker standing right in front of you like in the reality.

In other words, telepresence immerses you so much in your virtual conference that the barrier between what is real and what is virtual becomes so thin that we may consider it as being not existing.  Do you feel perplexed? Simply pay a short visit to the above-linked page and have a look at the images to get persuaded.

Why shall we use telepresence? The main benefit is the end of distractions, one of the most annoying problems of traditional video conferences. Another benefit is an increased level of interaction, which is obtained through the high level of visual and audio clarity that only telepresence ensures. This goes far beyond even the best traditional HD video conferencing service, as not only does it rely on the quality of the web conferencing software that is being used, but also on the utilization of  big monitors and some other technological equipment.

These are the two reasons why telepresence has become popular in many enterprises.  In a global world, meetings are fatally destined to go virtual, with subsequent urgent need for technologies that can ensure a level of interactions as close to the reality as possible. Telepresence does exactly that, and it does it better than ordinary video conferencing.

What about its costs? This much is true, that it is not exactly what they call an inexpensive technology. LifeSize, for example, offers systems starting from 65000 $, Cisco from $350.000. R-HUB TurboMeeting is probably the most affordable solution, as you can buy a R-HUB server with less than 2000$.

With TurboMeeting, you will have then to add the prices of monitors and other pieces of equipment to the bill. But you will bring a high-quality telepresence system home without spending an arm and a leg. Plus, you will have a level of security that only on-premise server based web conferencing solutions ensure.

In conclusion, telepresence is one of the most interesting technologies for global companies. It assures users highly interactive and fully immersive meetings that are not as far from those that they have in the real world.

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What are the differences between Telepresence and Ordinary Video Conferences?

March 2nd, 2017 by ali No comments »

Telepresence has become a trendy word. But how does it differ from ordinary video conferences? The immersive experience that only telepresence can ensure is the key to learn to use the two terms correctly.

What is telepresence about? Isn’t it anything else than a new word that stands for video conference? No, the answer is wrong. Telepresence cannot be considered as a mere synonym of video conference, as the difference between the two media is real and substantial.

In order to have an idea of what telepresence looks like, simply have a quick look at the web site of R-hub (http://www.rhubcom.com) a provider of solutions for video and audio conferencing, particularly at the page where there is the introduction to their products for HD Video conferencing  (http://www.rhubcom.com/v5/video-conferencing.html).  The photo in foreground will give you immediately the idea of what telepresence is.

What makes the difference with an ordinary conference is:

  • You feel as the remote user was actually sitting right in front of you, even though he or she is in another continent. It is necessary to utilize a great amount of technology to reach this goal: a special conference room with big HD screens is usually arranged for the specific purpose; the image of the remote person is reproduced in several monitors (R-HUB TurboMeeting supports up to 8 monitors) set around the observer; last point is video quality, as flat images or – even worse -black and white images will break the magic and disrupt your conference.
  • According to some people, the term telepresence includes also telerobotics, or robotic telepresence. This is a technology to control a robot via wireless networks and perform remote operations. What does it have to do with the first acceptation of the term? In my opinion, nothing; but this is it. But there are some people that use the term in this way.
  • Video streaming quality. It must be seamless and in high definition. Therefore, teleconference requires to be supported by reliable and well-built systems, like on-premise server based solutions. Web app could show issues and should be avoided.

In conclusion, telepresence assures users the experience of immersion which is not possible to get during an ordinary video conference via Skype on your iPhone. It needs many more resources, from a dedicated room with HD giant monitors to reliable web conferencing solutions. Being it expensive, it is limited to some specific uses, as lessons for virtual learners, surgical operations, and the meetings of the board of administration of a company.

If you are interested in telepresence and web conferencing, please visit R-HUB web site (http://www.rhubcom.com), where you are going to find additional resources and information about this interesting topic.

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Virtual Conferencing Trends: 2 reasons why On-Premise servers will beat Clouds

March 1st, 2017 by ali No comments »

The ability to offer specific services for telepresence and storage of private data could be the winning card that the providers of on-premise server based web conferencing solutions will play to win the game against cloud based solutions.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s latest report, the shift to clouds has been accelerating in 2016 which will lead to a slowdown in on-premise web-conferencing market next years. Will the prediction come true?

In 2014, on-premise video conferencing market held the largest share in terms of revenue (around 74%) and, undoubtedly, this share will decrease next years. However, according to a recent report of Transparency Market Research, even in the most pessimistic scenario servers will be still able to generate over 53% of revenues in 2023. Therefore, on-premise servers seem to be destined to retain their market leadership, despite the growth of clouds.

It is not a case that big firms like Cisco still have on-premise server based web conferencing  solutions in their product lists, and providers  of conferencing services that have massively bet on on-premise technology like R-HUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) are thriving. R-HUB`s suite TurboMeeting in particular is a great example of an on-premise server based product that is competitive in terms of price and performances.

Considering that TurboMeeting costs only around 1000-1400$ on average, we cannot but reject the common reasoning that customers are massively shifting to clouds because of budget considerations.  Simply, the importance of this trend has been exaggerated. Like every new technology, clouds have their moment of glory now; but saying that on-premise server predominance is going to be undermined is against any evidence.

Why is on-premise technology still holding the line? The reasons behind on-premise servers endurance are essentially two: telepresence and security. Telepresence, the new mantra of web conferencing, assures clients an immersive experience during video conferences. Technically speaking, clouds are not the best solution for it; consider, for example, latency:  audio and video requires low and predictable latency times, which makes it easier to manage and distribute video and audio data in systems where the network can be controlled end-to-end. But this is not possible when a company opts for a cloud.

Security is an old issue of any solution that utilizes a common space to store data. Clouds can be as safe as possible, but internet connections are always at risk of being hacked, no matter how many measures are taken in order to protect them. Then, some specific kinds of data require more advanced security than what clouds are able to offer. In these cases, it is necessary to maintain the traditional, but sure, on-premise server based technology.

Two further good reasons to keep away from clouds are:

  • Government regulations: It happens when your data are regarded as sensitive and have to be stored in compliance with specific rules and standards.
  • Accessibility: Some countries restrict access to internet. When there is no government on the way, it is the lack of adequate bandwidth that can create issues.

In conclusion, it is too early to say that clouds are going to outperform on-premise servers in the future. A coexistence of these two systems is more probable, as they have both their pros and cons and in some cases they are complementary.

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I.C.E, or the Three Basilar tips to avoid that your Virtual Conferences work as a Powerful Snooze

February 26th, 2017 by ali No comments »

ICE: This acronym stands for interaction, color and entertainment. Never neglect these three tips, if you wish to engage the participants of your meetings.

As a big consumer of webinars and virtual conferences, one of the first tricks I learnt is that by simply muting my mic I can avoid being detected while taking  a short nap, since I prevent the speaker from hearing me snoring that way. In facts, the big advantage of virtual conferences on real classrooms is that the speaker cannot see you,  and – honestly speaking – many  virtual conferences are incredibly sleep-inducing.

The point to catch is that running a virtual meeting is tricky, as there is no real contact between the speaker and the audience.  So, it is really hard to understand whether you as a speaker are involving participants or not, and in what measure. This problem, which is common to real life meetings, is exacerbated by the nature of the medium: watching a screen is more tiring than listening to a speaker that physically stands in front of you, and keeping concentration on a distant presenter during a virtual conference is difficult because there are more possible environmental distractions that haunt participants’ minds.

How to assure that your audience is engaged during your conferences? It is enough to follow these three basilar tips that the acronym I.C.E stands for:

I as Interaction.

University lectures are boring, and virtual conferences are not university lessons. So, let’s change format and shift to something more involving, like, for example, dialogues; answering your participants or giving them the possibility to put questions is a quick and easy technique to keep them awake.

C as color

Black and white screens are particularly sleep-inducing. So, choose video conferencing products that assure you and your audience colors and a great HD quality, like R-HUB TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com). Additionally, TurboMeeting offers users a whole set of great tools to engage their audience, like polling, raising hand buttons, desktop sharing, file sharing, and many others.

Accompany your presentations with some colorful slides, photos and graphics. A well-designed slide is a powerful mean to get your idea/information across, as the eyesight is the sense that people use most to learn.

E as entertainment

There is nothing as boring as a monotone tone of voice. Thus, it is important to be able to use the full vocal range. It is also important to mix data presentations with jokes and stories in order to give some moments of rest to your audience. In one word, try to give and have fun while giving your presentation.

In conclusion, a good conference is the result of the interaction between the speaker skills and the quality of the conferencing tool that the speaker uses. If I.C.E will help you to deliver good quality presentations, do not underestimate the importance of having the right product on hand among the dozens available on the market today.

If you are interested in R-HUB`s TurboMeeting, and you would like to get a free demonstration or a free trial, this is possible. Please contact R-HUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) for further information.

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Is Visual Content Management the new challenge for providers of Video Conferencing Services?

February 22nd, 2017 by ali No comments »

Users in general and millennials in particular are fond of virtual contents. This is the reason why the ability to provide clients with good tools for visual content management has become a top requirement of any quality video conferencing product.

According to a survey commissioned by Google, 37% of millennials watch videos on YouTube or other digital channels daily, while this percentage drops to 14% for the old generations. These numbers speak out for themselves: in the future, content is destined to go visual.

This trend is confirmed also by Frost & Sullivan in their 2016 conferencing services research. They forecast  that the video conferencing market is expected to grow at a rate of 10% about per year till 2023, while some new trends that are also connected to the visual segment, like teleconferences, are going to  grow even faster (source: Marketsandmarkets’ global forecast to 2022).

Not surprisingly, in their research Frost & Sullivan mention visual content management as one of the ten leading trends of 2016 in video conferencing industry. The reasons that they give to  back up their assertions are similar to the ones provided by Google: Baby boomers are giving way to a new generation that has learnt to browse through YouTube even before they could stand, and that  grab information mainly through videos and images.

Are the producers of video conferencing services taking the challenge seriously? This means to be able to offer clients instruments like the possibility of recording their virtual conferences and pushing their records on YouTube or similar digital platforms as video format in order to share contents to the public.

Undoubtedly, some few top-ranked producers have already taken the plunge. R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), for example, offers an integrated suite for audio and video conferencing that supports recording, HD video conferencing and even telepresence. Other platforms that presently offer tools to manage visual contents are Cisco’s WebEx, JoinMe, and Skype.

But, surprisingly, some of the most popular brands of the virtual conferencing industry has not yet equipped their video conferencing products with some basilar features for content management like recording. Among them, we found well-reputed platforms like Zoho Meeting and GoToMeeting.

Behind this apparent laziness that could reveal potential problems in the future there are probably technological issues. Visual content management is not as easy to implement as it can seem at first sight. This much is true: Taking the big step requires skills and investments, two requirements that not every producer has, but that mark the lines between who is going to get ahead and who is going to fall behind the competition in the next few years.

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