Well, there are video teleconferencing solutions over IP, some of which are more dependable and advanced than others. But the point of all of these are, as collaboratively well as they work, you kind of know the people you are videoconferencing with aren't really there.
It's not just the quality of the connection, or the inconsistency. It is that at least in my experience, video teleconferencing sessions sometimes fail to let participants pick up on the non-verbal cues that some attendees are meting out. You know, the keenly focused (as opposed to wandering eyes, the darting as opposed to rapt head, the body position implying receptivity to what is being said rather than just forced politeness.
Just announced earlier this morning, the Cisco TelePresence Meeting Solution seems to be a big step forward toward substantially reducing the absence of non-verbal attendees cues. To be available next month Available in two versions, TelePresence 3000 and TelePresence 1000, the solution offers ultra high-definition, 1080p video and spatial audio designed to let particpants experience video subtelties as well as conversational nuances often elusive in more garden-variety solutions.
To understand why TelePresence may well be several steps ahead of any other video conferencing solution, we need to talk just a bit about some of the oomph under the hood.
Happens that 1080p high-definition video is four times better than standard broadcast television and twice that of HDTV. This video is picked up by specially-designed video cameras that require no constant user operation. You set them up and they are ready to roll.
Cameras like these:
Insofar as the audio quality is concerned, there is a spatial technique at work that allows for full-duplex sound. This technology not only allows for sound to come from the speaker, but captures multiple remarks in parallel-time. Such remarks are often present during in-person meetings, but it is likely that meeting does not feature specially designed mics that eliminate sound interference. TelePresence does offer this gear as part of their packages.
TelePresence 3000 is being targeted for meetings up to 12 people around a virtual table. The 3000, which has prices starting at $299,000, is being posistioned as ideal for executive round-tables, engineering reviews, and even medical conferences.
TelePresence 1000 is designed for small group meetings as well as one-to-one conversations.Prices start at $99,000.
A TelePresence 1000 session could look something like this:
Both applications can be launched from Cisco CallManager 5.1, via a button on a Cisco IP Phone.
When you launch your Cisco TelePresence 3000 and your teleconference begins, it might well - depending on the surroundings in which various particpants are located in- look something like this:
Until true, semi-tactile avatar-based virtuality gets here, this is the most lifelike teleconferencing solution I've heard about to date.