Headline July 07, 2014



SCENE-2, Act-1,  is set for 2008:
As the despised business of videoconferencing is about to get  a new lease on life/

HP  - charges $350,000 for every room it kits out for Telepresence and, in America, a further $18,000 a month for service.

CISCO -charges up to $299,000 per room.

Dominic Dodd, of  Frost and Sullivan, a research firm. says that the buyers of such systems, find:

That despite their costs they quickly pay for themselves by keeping travels down.

Cisco claims that  for the year in question it has cut its own spending on travel by a fifth, and that the  100-odd telepresence rooms at its own offices around the world are almost constantly in use. 

Behold, -the tale of telepresence then :

FOR MOST of the 23 years Kenneth Crangle has spent at Hewlett-Packard,  a big computer and printer company, he was a typical road warrior, constantly travelling for business.

He was usually miserable. He hated the jet lag. Then came  9/11, shoe bombers, SARS and bird flu. His daughter became sick, exacerbating his reluctance to travel.

There must be a better way to meet and do business, Mr Crangle recalls. So he started work on an alternative:

The result is something called  ''telepresence'',  which in 2007-8, HP and technology companies had just begun to sell. These years, thus, become our baseline for !WOW!.

It is basically a spruced a spruced-up version of videoconferencing., but its creators insist that the technology is so improved as to unrecognisable. Mind you, that was in 2008:

Users would communicate via live audio and video feeds, but the speed and quality of transmissions had increased, and the screens had grown and multiplied, in order to create the illusion-

That the two parties to a conversation were not continent apart but at the opposite ends of the same table:

The aim, telepresence's booster's said, was to get participants in such meetings to forget, or at least stop caring that they were not in the same room.

Videoconferencing was supposed to put an end to corporate travel. But positioning people in front of a camera, fiddling endlessly with controls and then either giving up or proceeding to stare-

At a tiny picture of a blurry face often seems less satisfactory than the humble telephone. Such ''conversations''  are often a sequence time-delayed interruptions and missed social signals.

Just as the technologies that were supposed to deliver  ''the paperless office''  actually deluged it in ''print-outs''.

Videoconferencing sometimes works so badly that it leaves users feeling alienated, and so keener  to meet  face-to-face  that they had been in the first place, say Andrew Davis and Ira Weinstein at Wainhouse Research, a consultancy   

Correcting these flaws has been difficult. Designers want people in telepresence meetings to appear  life-sized, and the tables and the rooms at the two-ends to blend together seamlessly-

Rooms, furniture and even wallpaper are often identical, to aid the illusion.

People also must feel that they are making eye contact, which involves multiple cameras and enormous computing power. The delays in sight and sound must be negligible:

-ie,  below 250 millisecond the threshold at which the human brain starts to notice.

So, that people can interrupt each other naturally. Sound was be perceived to come from the direction of the person speaking. And getting things started must be simple  -ideally involving a single button or none at all.

Several firms have started selling such systems over the past years. HP was the first big vendor, followed by Cisco, -which makes many of the innards of the Internets.

The two leaders in old fashioned videoconferencing : Polycom and Tandberg, have switched to telepresence. Smaller firms, such as Telris and Telanetix are also getting in on the act.

The Honour and Serving of the Post continues. Thank you for reading. And stay tuned for the next one.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Engineering and Technology. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' Good To Great "'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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