Where technology is heading….or is it already there?!?

11 09 2009

Imagine this scenario.

You wake up; head to work with your cell phone around your wrist. While on the train, you remove the phone from your wrist and open it up as if it were a mini newspaper. You read in real-time about the latest financial news, check the weather for the next few hours and catch the end of your favorite television show you missed when you dozed off the night before. All before arriving at work. Once at work, instead of your whole team sitting at the conference room table beside you, only half of them are physically present. The other half are half way around the world, but in many ways, they are just as involved with the meeting that is about to start as they would be if they were sitting next to you. You can thank telepresence for that.

Ok, ok, before I go on, I should provide some background. Today in class we watched some amazing videos and discussed some fascinating topics relating to technology. Only half of the aforementioned technology is currently available to consumers. Can you guess which one? As much as I would like a wearable cell phone, there is still a way to go before you or I will be toting our own around. The Nokia Morph is the example I am referring to here. It is wild stuff. It is a phone prototype that is wearable, bendable and really defines what is meant by the term multidimensional. Click here to demonstrate my point.

The technology that is currently available is referred to as telepresence. It is expensive; therefore, it is available only to a limited number of large commercial entities that have the kind of dough necessary to construct such a system. Basically, it is a series of interconnected cameras, large, flat panel television screens and audio equipment. When fully set up, you can communicate live with others even though there may be thousands of miles physically between you and your subject. Furthermore, hyper-real technology is coming on fast, meaning that the image you see of your coworkers will appear better than in real life. It really is amazing to think how realistic this current technology is making interpersonal communications across vast distances. I could go on and on forever tossing around ideas relating to this fledgling technology! As my parting words, I ask you to do one thing. Just imagine ways you could use these two technologies I mentioned in your life.

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2 responses

11 09 2009
dparsonsmedia

I was also impressed by all the new gadgets we saw in class today, and especially that the technology to make them already exists.

On the topic of Telepresence, my former employer, Nortel, was largely dedicated to the sales of these products, and maintained the network infrastructure for many of its clients that used the system. The systems are VERY cool (I’ve been fortunate enough to have had several meetings via large telepresence rooms), and they really have made some cool advances in making it a fully interactive experience. Depending on what side of the room you are sitting, the microphone that pics you up will actually recognize where your audio is coming from, and transmit your audio to the corresponding speaker on the other end of the call to make it sound like you are coming from that side of the room.

The only downside to these units right now is with eye contact between sites. The cameras are delicately hidden in the center of the main screens as you hold your meeting, and although your first instinct is to speak directly to the person who you are seeing on the screen, you can really only make direct eye contact if you stare into the camera. Just a little thing to get used to doing, but it does throw off first-time users.

Just my 2 cents…

11 09 2009
arush84

That is awesome you have had that first hand experience with the technology!

I do not doubt within the next few years that the idea of business travel as we know it will be a dead one. What is the point of traveling? This technology, if it is made more accessible in price, will affect many other industries, especially those relating to travel.

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