Get ready for telepresence

Cisco has announced a new marketing effort to expand the availability of high quality videoconference facilities, or telepresence rooms. What is the difference between these rooms and older videoconference systems? Three things:

  • HD quality cameras and monitors provide real "you are there" interactivity. No more grainy television monitors or YouTube style images blown up on an LCD projector.
  • High performance, high capacity broadband connections that can carry multiple live HD video streams. How much is enough? Figure about 10 to 15 megabits per location, so if you have are having a conference with two remote locations, you need as much as 45 megabits of bandwidth.
  • Dramatically improved audio. No more "I'm talking from the bottom of well" sound quality, where you can't really hear half the people in the room. Multiple microphones and sophisticated sound processing software make it easy to carry on conversations without shouting.

If you are trying to attract businesses to your town or region, you should have at least one well-equipped facility available for rent by the hour. It may be just the thing to get startups and entrepreneurs interested in more rural locations for their businesses. Every business park should have a telepresence facility, and every public library should have a meeting room available for both business and community use.

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