Cisco TelePresence

Cisco takes a stab at co-presence:

Cisco TelePresence promo on YouTube

Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between this and traditional teleconferencing, with the exception of a larger screen and smoother connection technology. That being said, since this is only a promo video, who knows what the system is like in real life– there might be more lag than shown in the video, and auditory input/output might be a challenge. Never mind the setup of the video screens– not everyone’s going to have that same cherry wood conference table. And what happens when there are 10 people in one office trying to get in on the same conference?

The TelePresence system also does not solve many of the problems caused by a lack of co-presence, such as the ability to pass artifacts around the table. In a real conference, you may move your seat to get a better view of the whiteboard; in TelePresence, you do not have this ability. There is no way to make a private comment to your neighbor, and no way way to break off into small group discussion.

Although Cisco TelePresence furthers much of the technology for remote communication, it still fails to afford many of the capabilities of face-to-face communiction. Until those can be bridged, systems like TelePresence will not make us feel like we are “really in the same room as all of you.”