Commercial Integrator 2023 - 68

Technology Evolution
What's Old Is New Again: From
Telepresence to the Metaverse
Disentangling the concept of
'meeting equity' from the idea of
'meeting equivalence,' and exploring
how today's enterprises want to
collaborate. By Irwin Lazar
EFFORTS TO IMPROVE remote meetings have generally
existed across two fronts: meeting equity and meeting equivalence.
Meeting equity is the desire to use video to improve
meeting experiences by allowing participants to see one
another clearly, regardless of location. Meeting equivalence is
an effort to mimic in-person meetings, eliminating the awareness
of participants being physically separated.
Meeting Equivalence
Meeting equivalence has consumed quite a lot of resources
(and money) in the last two decades. After some early
attempts by firms such as TeleSuite, Teliris and HP, Cisco
launched the first big commercial foray in the mid-2000s with
its Cisco Telepresence offering. The vision for telepresence
systems was to make those attending a virtual meeting
feel as if they were in the same room as everyone else. The
systems did this via multiple large monitors, multiple cameras
and furniture designed to create an experience that allowed
in-room participants to see remote attendees in full size, seated
at the same table, at eye level. Other vendors, including
Polycom and Tandberg, quickly followed the trend, establishing
their own telepresence offerings.
Telepresence was an expensive solution, with room costs
easily exceeding six figures. Ongoing costs were also high due
to the need for large amounts of LAN and WAN bandwidth to
deliver a high-definition experience. It also required dedicated
meeting space that couldn't easily be used for other purposes.
As a result, telepresence saw limited adoption; typically, the
adopters were large companies that could justify the cost
for executive or high-value customer engagement. It wasn't
a solution for the masses. In fact, to preserve the experience,
some telepresence vendors initially only allowed those who
were in telepresence rooms to join meetings. This meant
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Commercial Integrator JUNE 2023
The solutions of today are clearly more flexible and less expensive
than the telepresence systems of the past were. But
the desire to achieve meeting equivalence has not abated.
A New Set of Technologies
Now, a new set of technologies is trying once again to remove
the visual (and auditory) barriers in meetings. These include
the following:
○ Virtual reality devices, worn by meeting participants,
that transform the meeting experience from one in which
participants are looking at a screen to one in which participants
are fully immersed in a virtual experience.
○ Spatial audio (first used in the telepresence systems
mentioned earlier) that is designed to allow remote participants
to hear each other, with audio appearing to come
from different parts of the room.
○ Person framing, with multiple or center-table cameras
designed to capture all participants, no matter where they
are sitting, and display them in a frame, so that remote attendees
can clearly and equally see those in a conference
room, sitting around a table.
○ Holographic experiences that allow remote participants
to see not only each other but also physical content, in 3D,
regardless of location.
commercialintegrator.com
there was no option for remote participants to join from home.
Instead, in order to participate in a meeting, one had to travel
to the nearest telepresence room. Today, telepresence largely
exists as a relic of the past. Solutions are more flexible, less
expensive and offer the same multi-screen options for large
rooms, and they provide the ability for participants to join via
personal devices or from any room. However, the desire to
achieve meeting equivalence has not abated.
GORODENKOFF/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
http://www.commercialintegrator.com

Commercial Integrator 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator 2023

Commercial Integrator 2023 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator 2023 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator 2023 - 1
Commercial Integrator 2023 - 2
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