The Trials of Telepresence

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Conceptually, the value of telepresence systems from companies such as Cisco, Polycom and others is easy to comprehend. The challenge is finding the wherewithal to actually deploy it. According to Dane Martin, a principal consultant with the IT services firm Dimension Data, there are basically seven reasons that explain why more companies are not adopting telelpresence at a faster rate. They include:


  • They already have videoconferencing systems in place.
  • The cost of telepresence systems is too high.
  • They had a bad experience with video conferencing systems.
  • Their network infrastructure can't meet the latency demands of telepresence.
  • They don't have any video specialists on staff.
  • Telepresence systems create too much pressure from business users for the IT department.
  • IT organizations are not sure how much real usage there would be.

Of course, we can add to these issues interoperability and the fact that many companies are not sure if they want to acquire telepresence products or have it delivered to them as a service. And finally, nobody is quite sure where telepresence fits in among the pantheon of unified communications solutions.

None of this means that telepresence won't become widespread. But while the technology definitely adds business value and has made significant strides in the last year, you can't help but wonder if all these issues mean that mainstream adoption of telepresence is still a year away or more.