What is Telepresence Video Conferencing?

What is telepresence?  What makes it different from video conferencing?  Is telepresence technology an essential part of the growth of different industries?  How significant is it to have a telepresence system?

The world is moving faster and getting bigger.  Every day, more and more complexities exist and the only way to deal with these is to come up with surprising new ideas to help everyone get on the same page.  In different kinds of businesses and industries, the most strategic way to collaborate is to maintain a face-to-face relationship with customers, colleagues, and partners.  This is the primary aim of tele presence technology.  This article discusses tele presence technology; provides an overview of the tele presence technology, and brings forth the essential elements which make up an effective telepresence system.

Telepresence Technology: The Definition

Telepresence technology is oftentimes confused with video conferencing, although the two are almost similar.  In discussing what is telepresence’s difference from videoconferencing, it should be put in mind that video conferencing fails to consider all the factors needed in human communication.  Typical video conference system equipment such as high-resolution cameras and microphones actually ignore the fundamentals of visual communication.

When faced with the question “what is telepresence,” it is important to define it as precisely as possible to avoid confusing it with normal video conferencing. The true definition of telepresence technology is that it is a multidisciplinary science and art which not only allows for the opportunity to communicate and see a person face-to-face but also integrates and takes into consideration elements such as psychology, engineering, and even the art of television broadcast.  A telepresence system is more than just mere video conferencing.

To better understand the question about tele presence, one should put in mind the following:

What is Telepresence Essentials #1:

A high-definition web camera should not only be placed somewhere atop a monitor but should be optically aligned with the eyes of the person being displayed on-screen.  Placing the camera on top of the screen or on the sides or bottom does not fulfill a true tele presence system setup.

What is Telepresence Essentials #2:

A person’s upper body arm gestures should be clearly seen through an HD life-size image.  If conferencing is done on a desktop computer, at least 70% of the life-size image should be displayed.

What is Telepresence Essentials #3:

There should be a correct distance in which the image being displayed is equivalent to a person sitting on the other side of the conference room.  If only the face is being displayed on a monitor or plasma TV, then it deviates from true telepresence technology.

What is Telepresence Essentials #4:

In a telepresence system, the quality of the image should be in broadcast quality.  In other words, it should be better in resolution compared to usual image qualities being projected in other forms of videoconferencing.  It is usually inadequate to settle with CIF resolution only when aiming to use telepresence technology.

What is Telepresence Essentials #5:

The quality of the audio is excellent — the sound of voices arrive clean and crisp and are free from all kinds of distortion.

What is Telepresence Video Conferencing

An Overview of the Telepresence Technology

Once you go over the answers to the question about Tele presence?” the next thing you should be able to understand is the telepresence technology that keeps a telepresence system apart from other videoconferencing programs.

Telepresence technology allows users to get the feeling of being together with the person they are talking to even though that person is only being projected from a screen.  A good telepresence system makes use of HD life-size displays through high-definition cameras and high-fidelity acoustics.  This makes it possible for sounds to be effectively localized to the image.  This gets backed up by a high-bandwidth system that produces seamless and real-life presentations within the space dedicated to telepresence technology.  Rooms made especially for telepresence systems are often filled with displays and furniture to further enhance the simulation.  Attendees would usually sit at a conference table where they will be able to see high-definition videos of other participants who are also sitting on a similar conference table in remote locations.  The videos allow participants to get the feeling that they are sitting in the same table like the ones on the screen in front of them.  This is the main point why most companies want to adopt telepresence technology; being able to communicate face-to-face is a priority when running a business.

Not all companies though will be able to afford life-size versions of tele presence technology.  There are also options for lower-bandwidth which allow participants to make use of desktop clients.  However, the drawback of using a lower-bandwidth option is that the experience would be less compelling because of the lower fidelity.

The Elements of a Telepresence System

The telepresence system is popular not only for different business firms who have branches in several locations but may also be useful to researchers and scientists who need to work in different places.  The tele presence technology intends to impart a feeling of shared presence, in which participants might even forget their location differences.

Employing the use of a telepresence system is usually costly but is still rising in popularity both in the academe and in business.  However, not all campuses can afford to set up a dedicated system, and they opt for lower-bandwidth options instead.

Using a telepresence system requires two different locations that both have dedicated server software and hardware, along with a reliable bandwidth to support HD output and the right equipment that is designed to deliver high-quality audio and video.  A dedicated tele presence technology setup will be able to make people appear life-size with their torso and hands clearly visible.  Voices should be transmitted via high-fidelity sound and participants should be able to easily discern facial expressions and body language.  The tele presence system then creates a more realistic communication experience in which participants will be able to respond to each other as if they were all in the same meeting room.

What is Telepresence: The Significance

In answering the question “what is telepresence”, it is essential to note its significance.  The importance of tele presence technology lies in its ability to provide an effective alternative solution for people who dislike having to travel all the way across the map to attend a face-to-face meeting.  Travel can be time-consuming, all the more exhausting for a person.   Although adopting a dedicated tele presence system can be very costly, many have been encouraged to have it because of its advantages of speaking to, seeing, and hearing colleagues as if they are currently in the same room.  Not only would there be a better way to communicate with colleagues, but an effective telepresence system also affects the academe in a way that opens new ways of instruction and research.  As telepresence technology starts evolving in a way that can benefit those who are looking for less expensive solutions, it also has the potential to provide new audiences and opportunities for different institutions.

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