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.