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Cisco Demos Public Rooms For Telepresence

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the can-you-see-me-now dept.

Communications 65

CWmike writes "Matt Hamblen reports that Cisco Systems Inc. has announced the first telepresence videoconferencing rooms available for public use. It demonstrated the technology simultaneously in four locations in India, the US and the UK Three of the four demonstration sites were retrofitted rooms in Taj Hotels in London, Bangalore, India and Boston. The luxury hotel chain will build the videoconferencing rooms for business and guest use at rates starting at $400 an hour in the Boston location. Cisco said prices will vary from $299 to $899 an hour at various locations globally, depending on the number of users. The rooms can accommodate from one to 18 people."

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mirror (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392369)

mirror [kamilla18blog.com] (no ads).

You know that this means... (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392465)

Real-time international ORGIES!!!1!

Re:You know that this means... (0, Offtopic)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393005)

With ./er always goes back to SEX. Your lack thereof is definitely showing.
Back to your subject, it would be interesting to see three high definition screen of good looking girls... gee with all of the high definition camera you would see things that you normally don't see on "normal definition" videos so it would be interesting if the adult video/services community will think of this.

Re:You know that this means... (2, Informative)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393415)

Not exactly. Doesn't an orgy require a few senses other than sight and sound?

I got to attend a telepresence meeting at the beginning of the summer and color me unimpressed. Of course, I'm not very enthusiastic about any real-time technology binding a company with offices all over the world (include telephones and worse, IRC in that too).

PHBs of the sort who drove Turbolinux into the ground (trying to drive schedules in Tokyo based on California business hours) will love this though.

And yes, once you get the meeting established, the video and audio is quite good.

Disclaimer: I work for Cisco, but in a different part of the company.

Re:mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392481)

Yes... I suppose one could use the telepresence room for something like that... I don't think that's quite what the article was getting at though.

Re:mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392981)

Oh gee really? Thanks for the heads-up, Neville.

Re:mirror (0, Troll)

Canosoup (1153521) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392567)

Yes, very good. You made a joke on the various meanings of mirror. Please die.

Re:mirror (0, Offtopic)

DougBTX (1260312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392629)

Well, there were no ads.

Re:mirror (0, Offtopic)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393125)

Can't see the forest through the trees eh?

Taking Telepresence up a notch... (0, Offtopic)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392617)

Cisco Telepresence Technology + Remote-Internet-Controlled-Sex-Toys + Generous amount of lubricant... CAN YOU FEEL ME NOW?!

Re:Taking Telepresence up a notch... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392675)

Remote-Internet-Controlled-Sex-Toys?
Sounds like a ripe target for hacking.

DDoS'd girls can't say no.

Re:Taking Telepresence up a notch... (1)

tehIvyn (1109851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441307)

Dont see how this is off topic. Its not any more offtopic than bunch of the stuff tagged Funny. The remote internet sex toys are real, and so are their applications in group telepresence situations - check Wired magazine or Gizmodo. Combined with the fact that Sex Industry is grossing more than some of the "serious" IT applications and this post is downright insightful.

anybody else read as "public restrooms"? (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392705)

That's one place I don't want to see a demo!

Waste of money (1)

melted (227442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392711)

Can't they just use iChat or something?

Anybody know how I can set this up... (2, Funny)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392725)

...so I can talk to my cats while I'm on vacation? I have a Logitech webcam and a Linux box. Thankyouforyourtime.

Re:Anybody know how I can set this up... (3, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392813)

Buy a Roomba ConnectR: http://www.irobot.com/sp.cfm?pageid=338 [irobot.com]

Re:Anybody know how I can set this up... (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392887)

Ahahaha. That's awesome, never heard of it. However, I'm more interested in some sort of Skype auto-answer setup that I could probably set up without waiting for this iRobot thing to be released.

How about Meeting In Person? (2, Interesting)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392745)

At those costs, it is cheaper to fly out and meet in person.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392805)

You can fly 18 people to India for $899?
Cheapest tickets out there are $1200/person.
With telepresence you can get 2 rooms for $1800 and have a meeting with 36 people, or you can fly 18 of them out for $16,182 and have a bunch of cranky people that had to take 24 hour flights and deal with international travel hassles

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25394983)

Waah. This person works for them, no one else would get so emotionally defensive.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401247)

True, but these prices are well above cost still. If this business model is successful, competition will bring the prices way down. Anyone with a spare conference room and an internet connection could get in on this, most companies have that. Hell, it would cost around $899 to have someone install a PC with a video camera and VLC in their office, no need to rent a room.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (1)

torkus (1133985) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405439)

Have you actually participated in a video conference? How about a business related one...and then how about a telepresence conference?

These prices aren't all that obscene. A telepresence room will run you about 500k (and you need two!). Plus the bandwidth is NOT your average 384K DSL. There's 4 screens running at 1-2MBit each plus audio.

Besides, telepresence is an entirely encapsulated and planned room. There's no echo, there's no bad lighting, there's no spots where you have to yell to be heard. The video is HD quality, the sound is amazing.

No, i'm not a cisco shill. I just have two of these room installed by my department at work.

And no, they're not perfect. Trying bringing in other polycom systems and it's a nightmare. Having their 'white glove' hosting service is 95% pointless if you have demanding executives. But a pure telepresence call? It's amazingly better than any PC webcam/video camera/whatever combo.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392915)

Especially for sex. I rather have the REAL thing.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (2, Informative)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399439)

I've actually seen Telepresence in action. A set of three 1080p monitors, multiple cameras, mics, and a high-end sound system all built into a custom designed room. The result: a freekishly interactive experience. People actually seem to be sitting on the other side of a table across from you.

If you have overpriced executives that are traveling all the time, it doesn't take long to figure out how much you save in both direct travel costs and indirect salary waste.

Oh the cost of that system: $300k per room. Even at that rate, we were able to justify at least a break even.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 4 years ago | (#25404107)

I've actually had sex in person. There is really no substitute.

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25412093)

We know better than that. Proof! We demand proof!

Re:How about Meeting In Person? (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25415913)

Well I imagine i can have sex in one of these conference rooms and others can watch, and it can be recording the session at the same time. Proof.. You got Proof! I wonder if this thing can handle the smells.. =P>

Steve Jobs Wants You Dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392801)

He told me, and he is totally serial and heretosexuil. So watch out, evereybodey.

Re:Steve Jobs Wants You Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392849)

WTF, are you trying to start a new /. meme or something? You've posted this on about three separate topics already. Shut up.

For one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392825)

Under what circumstances would one person rent one of these out?

or just use skype and a decent webcam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392833)

cost: $0 per hr (inc tax)
supports as many people as you can get in the room

Pfew! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25392851)

It's a good thing it maxes out at $899.00! I couldn't afford $900.00!

Here is the demos in YouTube. (2, Informative)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392895)

24 had telepresence as a product placement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25393291)

It was on season 6 with the multi-TV setup.

Re:Here is the demos in YouTube. (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25395003)

In the second video, towards the end, after the long long long marketing spiel, he finally explains why this technology sucks.

If a person in one of the rooms points at a person in another room, the people in the other two rooms can't tell who is being pointed at. So "you're fired!" gets very confusing very quickly.

FAIL.

Re:Here is the demos in YouTube. (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25396867)

That's not really a huge failure - it would probably take some time to get used to, but you just adapt the way you communicate if you happen to be in a video conference.

Instead of pointing at someone and saying "you're fired", point (for the benefit of the people in the room), and say "QuantumG, you're fired". It's not really that difficult.

LifeSize (5, Informative)

SLOviper (763177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25392979)

The Cisco Telepresence systems are nice, but not /that/ nice. $400 per hour seems a bit steep when you have to travel to the meeting place to begin with. Maybe for the extremely rare instance for a smallish company.

For our VTC, we use relatively cheap LifeSize systems. We've had good luck with stability and interoperability although most of our VTC is LifeSize to LifeSize. Still, at $5K for a basic system (plus display) it wouldn't take long to make that up. A fully integrated room like the Cisco system goes for ~$75K.

One more note. If you're going to do serious VTC, use Masergy.

One one more note, LifeSize just released their new systems which do 1080p30. I don't know about bandwidth, but the "old" 720p30 systems that I'm using do that with ~1100kbps. I'm assuming that the new ones will require ~4 times that for full motion.

Obligatory disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with LifeSize, just a happy customer. :-)

Re:LifeSize (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393633)

The Cisco Telepresence systems are nice, but not /that/ nice. $400 per hour seems a bit steep when you have to travel to the meeting place to begin with. Maybe for the extremely rare instance for a smallish company.

You're going to have to do that anyway. And if you must have a face-to-face, the price is quite competitive when you consider airfare, hotel rentals, car rentals, per diem expenses, etc.

So long as it is the extremely rare instance (which is all that is justified IMO when you have offices in distant time zones), this is a very nice system.

The basic problem with heavy dependence on any type of real-time technology is time zone differences. 9AM to 5PM in Tokyo is 4PM to Midnight (5PM to 1AM in the winter) in California.

Disclaimer: I work for Cisco, but in a different part of the company.

Isn't this just videoconferencing? (2, Interesting)

Genevish (93570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393083)

Isn't this just videoconferencing, which Kinko's has offered for years? [fedex.com]

Re:Isn't this just videoconferencing? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393433)

No, it's cooler than that. And by cooler I mean "flashy".

We've got these and they do look pretty wicked. Probably fit right in your basic C-level executive conference room, but not the casual lounge set aside for Very special guests.

I must need sleep (2, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393175)

I first read this as "Cisco Demos Public Restrooms For Telepresence"

$400 an hour? Oh really? (3, Insightful)

rfc1394 (155777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393301)

Let's see, I've done some video of my own, using a web cam that cost me $12. (Granted, it was only 15fps, but for extreme low cost it would fit the bill and my 30fps camera set me back a whopping $175.) Now, there's some cost for an Internet connection and maybe the TV they're providing is an expensive $3,000 flat screen, but as I see it, the reason you use teleconferencing is to save money, not to spend more than it costs to go there in person.

This is like, oh, 1980s pricing when telecommunications links were extremely expensive and companies would be willing to spend money on new toys and people didn't know what the real cost of an international video connection was. Most people in business see enough video over the Internet to realize that the cost to deliver even high-quality video is not extreme. Thus they're going to realize these prices are way too high and they're not buying it.

Of course! I'm forgetting! This is the rack rate, the advertised rate a hotel claims to charge if you walk up to the desk and ask for a room that day, you get reamed up the anus for the maximum possible rate. Expect the rate claimed to be severely discounted, even for very short advance notice. No one will use it otherwise. Might work at $100 an hour or $400 a day but I seriously don't think it's going to work at $400 an hour.

Let's see, and my numbers may be wrong but let me make an estimate. I can ignore salaries because you're paying them the same whether their butt is sitting in a chair in, say, DC or in Hong Kong. Since I know some of these prices I can give an example.

Say you have to send four people to a meeting in Seoul. (I know it doesn't list there as a place but I'm presuming one will be there eventually if they want it to be successful.) KAL from DC or New York to Seoul, South Korea is around $800 each way per person. Hotel probably adds the same per day for the team. (One room for male members, one room for female ones.) Add another $400 for per diem. So for a seven-day meeting to negotiate a contract, it's going to cost $6400, plus $5600 for the rooms, plus another $5600 for feeding them, etc. That's $17,500. Add in $2200 each for their salaries plus G&A for the 4 days they're sitting on a plane not working (plane trip each way plus some time before and after to recover from jet lag), add another $2,000 for bribes and unexpected expenses (yes, I know technically bribes are illegal, but in some places you have no choice or you can't get business done at all) and it totals $27,600 for the trip and your people even got to visit South Korea during off-hours.

Now, you're sticking them in front of a video room for 6 hours a day, that's $4,800 each day (presumably you have to pay the other side's conference room cost, the use of telepresence is for your convenience, not theirs, it wouldn't cost them anything to have the meeting in person at their offices), and in a week, that's $33,600 and your people ain't even gotten a free junket out of it so there's no appreciation for the company (and no friendly competition among your people to get that juicy trip at company expense.) And some of these travel expenses might be negotiable. Plus, if you aren't in a city where their video conference rooms are, you have an expense to go there, reducing any alleged "savings" over the cost of travel.

Besides, if video conferencing was so much better, people'd be using their own computers and doing it over the Internet for a cost equivalent probably to the first one hour Cisco wants to charge. I don't know about you, but I think you can do a fairly decent videoconference over a 764K internet connection, and that's what Verizon is offering me for $19.95 a month, and their commercial DSL is 3mbps for $42.95 a month.

Let me tell you, I did a so-so videoconference with a friend, using a web cam, oh, about, ten, twelve years ago, me in Arlington, Virginia, 4 miles from Washington D.C., friend was in Colorado, audio was so so and video was kind of low quality, but I did it over a 56K modem using a dial up connection! And we were both using AOL no less! The equipment available now even for consumer use is fairly good and inexpensive, perhaps even trivial for a business.

I purchased a reasonably nice dual-core 64 bit HP Pavillion refurbished for $400 a few months ago. Let's say for a power machine we're looking at $600. Add $200 for a 30fps video camera to use as a web cam. Maybe add $400 to put two monitors on it, one for each side so you can see you and them, or let's go $1000, put in a small monitor to see yourself on your end and a big flat screen to see the other side. Add $200 if you can't find an open-source videoconferencing software package. So, for $1800 plus $50 bucks a month (adding taxes to the $42.95 and presuming, unlike recent history, the price per month never drops), you can do videoconferencing anywhere in the world that will probably be close to, if not as good as Cisco's overpriced offering. If you use it more than 5 hours in the next three years, you've already more than saved the cost over Cisco's price and you still have a computer on top of it. And you don't even have to dedicate the machine to videoconferencing, you could use it for other purposes when not being used for that. And you don't even have to leave your office to do a videoconference, and when you're not using the broadband connection it gives you an extra 3mbps of Internet connectivity.

For a lot of people, international travel is a way to effectively go on a junket at your employer's expense. Thus in order to justify using telepresence (or for the employee who would otherwise get to take a trip around the world at their employer's expense to even recommend it), the video service has to be lots cheaper, so much so that the party recommending it would get an "atta boy" (or "atta girl") from their boss for saving money. Unless you've got extremely expensive people on a very tight deadline and a short meeting, where staying back at their home office makes more economic sense over flying to the location, these prices seem excessively high. Especially in India where minimum wage is probably $1 a day, executive salaries are probably comparable in terms of lowness relative to the U.S.

So when Cisco discovers this doesn't work, rather than admit that the price was too high by, oh, a factor of 4 or more, they'll just claim that it was ahead of its time. Well, yeah, if you consider charging prices probably appropriate for October 2150 when $400 an hour is equivalent to minimum wage (as opposed to October 2008 when $400 an hour is still a lot of money even at a high-end law office, [except when you're sending out bills and it's claimed to be a discount rate!]). Yes, in that case you're ahead of your time...

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25393739)

Your math assumes economy-class air tickets from NY to Seoul, and doubling up with colleagues in the same hotel rooms. Not sure there would be "competition among your people to get that juicy trip." Juicy? Sounds like a brutal itinerary to me! (coming from one who travels transpacific or transatlantic at least once per month)

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (4, Insightful)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393793)

Funniest post I have read in a while.

You clearly have never seen what the setup is like to use.

You should go to the movie industry and tell them they dont have to spend 30 million a film when you can do similar things with the video recorder on your mobile phone and a PC. It's about the same thing.

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25398317)

yes, like the blair witch project.

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25404391)

or like any of the Harry Potter movies

I do not trust your numbers, maybe you're close (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393951)

I do not think you have priced things out right.

Say you have to send four people to a meeting in Seoul. (I know it doesn't list there as a place but I'm presuming one will be there eventually if they want it to be successful.) KAL from DC or New York to Seoul, South Korea is around $800 each way per person.

For economy try doubling or tripling that.

Just for grins, I tried searching for airline ticket prices, since I pay over $1300 to fly roundtrip SFO/NAIA and unbelievably you may be right and wrong. I did not find any KAL flights out of NYC, but I did find a JAL flight out of NYC with one stop at Narita and then on to SEL for $655. JAL has been quite mismanaged[1] of late, but that is one hell of good price. It also means that they do not necessarily have tickets to sell when you need to travel.

You are not going to be spending US$200/night/head on hotel fare regardless. $100 max, but most likely less.

The second lowest fare I saw was Delta, but you would have to be certifiably insane to fly an American carrier across the Pacific and they were selling tickets starting at $1551.

My last business travel was from Tokyo to Beijing in 2001. When I regularly got sent around the US in the 1980s on business travel, the corporate tickets I got typically had price tags two to three times of what someone shopping around could get. Even with what they described to me as having a "sweetheart" deal with the airline.

Oh and you have to factor in the unpleasantness of the trip. International stopovers suck. Flying over the Pacific sucks unless you're flying Singapore Air[2]. There's going to be a mandatory 3+ hour off-the-plane layover at Narita. Everyone is going to be jetlagged up the ying-yang after the return to New York. And not everyone likes to travel.

[1] Since they're based in Japan, the CEO jumped out of a window without any kind of a parachute, let alone a golden one.

[2] Not only is Singapore Air *really* the #1 airline in Asia, they offer Linux powered entertainment systems even in economy. Even more important, their stewardesses are beautiful^Wmost polite and courteous.

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393995)

There is of course a huge Cisco markup, but the units aren't exactly cheap either. It's not your HP Pavillion. They have three 1080p cameras, three large flat screens, and HD encoders that work in real time. They even remodel the room, furniture included, to get the lighting and positioning just right.

The bandwidth requirements are very steep as well, with three 1080p full motion video streams. (Or six if you count both directions.) IIRC, the traffic can't go over the public Internet because of latency requirements, so you need a dedicated path all the way to the destination. There's no way your consumer broadband line would handle it.

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (2, Informative)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25394499)

One 1080p Camera [$4,800] [electronista.com]

60" Plasma [$4,014.99] [ecost.com]

HD encoder 9Mbps for three HDTV [infinitevi...ration.com]

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 5 years ago | (#25394979)

I'm confused. Are you trying to say that Cisco hardware is more expensive than other options? I can't say I would be shocked.

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (1)

torkus (1133985) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405547)

Ok, HD camera x 4
Plasma x4 ...

Oh, and you wanted it integrated so it all works together?

Re:$400 an hour? Oh really? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25395579)

Probably true. But you're still just *talking* you know ? It's nice to see the face of whomever is doing the talking, but plain old television-quality works perfectly. It's not as if it was painful to watch the news before HDTV.

640x480@30fps is plenty for all practical concerns. And a residential connection most certainly can handle that, unless you're American (residential broadband in the US is a joke). Residential broadband here in Stavanger, Norway for example tends to mean a choice of 10Mbps, 25mbps and 50mbps, all symetrical speeds (i.e. equal upload and download)

Telepresence (4, Interesting)

jkeelsnc (1102563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393371)

Telepresence is a very cool technology. It is not just another video teleconference system. Anyone who has experienced it in person will be able to explain why it is not just another VTC. I visited the Cisco Office in Charlotte not too long ago and was able to experience a telepresence conference with Cisco in Research Triangle Park. It really is quite amazing. Yes, it is expensive but if you see it yourself in person you will understand why. It seems like a pretty good idea for cisco to have this system setup in hotels and other locations where it can be rented for corporations and other uses. In fact, I can see where this could be used as a solution for conferences that would normally require a lot of travel. Instead, a small or medium size company that has an office in Atlanta and another office in Denver can simply rent time in a telepresence room at a hotel in atlanta and then in denver and probably still make it a lot cheaper than flying people half way across the country esp with airline tickets and fuel costs as high as they are right now. Pretty cool stuff.

Telepresence (3, Interesting)

jkeelsnc (1102563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393385)

One additional note. While I was at the Cisco office in Charlotte the office staff there told me that since they installed the telepresence system, Cisco has cut out virtually all travel. They can do that simply because the telepresence experience is so good that there is not much reason to travel. Also, of course the telepresence system is quite expensive so they had to compensate for that somewhere.

Multipoint teleconference is amazing (3, Informative)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393961)

I had the benefit of experiencing multipoint teleconferencing. NewYork (where I was), San Jose and Boston. The room had three 60in plasmas and three cameras. Now of course you can't see everybody at once if there are three people in each room (9 feeds in total), but when the left person in Boston spoke, the left screen in New York changed to show the speaker (and the sound came from the left screen); then when the San Jose (left) guy spoke the Boston guy was replaced with that person. It was pretty slick, just like in a real room where you look at the person that is talking. There was _no lag_ with sound, such as you would ask a question and then just as if they were sitting next to you, they would respond.

The setup was trivial. When we walked into the room the cisco phone on the desk was pre-programmed for our meeting and all we had to hit was the "join meeting" button next to the LCD screen. No phone numbers to dial, PINs etc. If we wanted to share a ppt, there was a VGA cable to plug our laptop into. I understand the folks that set the meeting up just plugged in the rooms into their outlook calendar and *voila* all done.

For those comparing this to consumer grade video conferencing (yahoo/skype), it's like comparing IMAX to watching a movie on a iPhone.

Re:Multipoint teleconference is amazing (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#25397275)

"it's like comparing IMAX to watching a movie on a iPhone" - There's someone else in this thread who did just that. Funniest thing I've read today.

We have a monster system here. 2m display in the middle, 2 half size displays either side, digital whiteboard that can be broadcast, overhead projector that can do the same, cameras that can auto-focus on the speaker, multiple network connection points for laptops (all broadcastable), satellite TV with sports channels! (why?), and this funky remote control for, um, controlling the lot.

That's the main room... we have another 3 rooms with smaller displays that can all be interconnected plus a press room where audio and video can be limited.

It's a geek's dream.

Kinkos has had this for years. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25394103)

Kinkos has has public telepresence rooms in some Kinkos outlets for years. They're not used much.

But the coolest telepresence system is the Telectroscope. [tiscali.co.uk] This was very impressive. Especially because it was installed in public locations in New York and London, turned on, and left running 24 hours a day with no explanation.

Re:Kinkos has had this for years. (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25395259)

It was literally right down the block from my house (I live in brooklyn heights). A friend of mine and I wandered down to the landing one night and just found it. His family is british and he went to college there and knows tons of good bars in london. So there we were, us at 2am, london at 7am, having a conv with some couple on the other side (via whiteboards) who had just spent the night bar hopping about the best bars in london. Rather awesome and surreal. Also a great piece of steampunk looking tech that was good looking, well done, and most likely cost a *fortune*.

Re:Kinkos has had this for years. (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25395269)

AAAGH I should know better and actually use html in my post. /. ate my formatting again!

This is *not* just teleconferencing; it's amazing (4, Informative)

skidisk (994551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25394587)

I don't work for Cisco anymore, but when I did, we used Telepresence. It's incredible. You look straight into the eyes of the folks on the other end, they're in hi def, and there is NO LAG in the speech and reactions, even when they are half way around the world. It an entirely different experience -- it really does feel like you are in the same room with them. The conversations are better, more information dense, your expressions and reactions help speed understanding, and when you're done, you almost automatically start to get up and walk over to shake the other person's hand. It's very hard to explain the experience here in text; you need to actually do it. I agree that for casual communication, phone calls or simple web cams are fine. But for business communication, joint design sessions, trying to work through complex issues, and avoiding travel, these systems are incredible. I was as skeptical as anyone before I used it; I've seen teleconferencing for 40 years and it has almost always been more trouble than it's worth. Skype and webcams have changed the low end, and Telepresence will change the high end. If you know someone at Cisco, go ask them to get you in to see one. It's damn impressive, even for cynical tech-heads. [I don't work for Cisco, don't own their stock, and don't stand to gain anything from their success -- TP just rocks.]

Re:This is *not* just teleconferencing; it's amazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25401075)

It's amazing, but apparently only for CEOs and Fortune 500 companies. I work for a school district that was trying to get our CISCO reps to help us build a telepresence solution for interactive video classes and the got us excited but never did anything. Apparently CISCO doesn't see other applications for this technology outside of the big wig market. A product like this would be great for interactive video classrooms, and for a county like us where all 5 districts are connected via fiber we would have been a perfect customer to use as a test site. Oh well, polycom and lifesize have seen as a customers and given us real quotes, not just CISCO telepresence fluff.

An Insider's prospective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25395969)

I work for Webex nee Cisco. There are a few of these rooms on the first floor. The quality is very good and no jitter. Employees are currently allowed to use them for free.

Employees here with family in China or India can show off their kids to parents back home. There are rooms else where in the US and in Europe.

Pretty neat.

Zordon (1)

vimm (1300813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401697)

Someone please tag this zordon...

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405697)

I don't work for Cisco anymore, but when I did, we used Telepresence. It's incredible. You look straight into the eyes of the folks on the other end, they're in hi def, and there is NO LAG in the speech and reactions, even when they are half way around the world. It an entirely different experience

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