Podcast: Creating an Ideal Telepresence Environment with Technology and Interior Design
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor, TMCnet News
Streamlined communication and collaboration continue to be a key focus for companies throughout the world. As the global infrastructure continues to expand and companies increasingly move offshore, face-to-face communications are becoming more of a challenge. This trend is helping to create opportunities in telepresence.
To get a better idea of how companies can implement telepresence into their environment from the ground-up, TMCnet recently spoke with Bob McCandless, CEO of BrightCom, a provider of integrated telepresence and videoconferencing solutions, and David Benz, president of Vaughan Benz, a BrightCom client and a manufacturer of high-end, custom made wood and upholstered furniture for the hospitality industry.
McCandless and Benz both focused on the importance of the room environment and how lighting and room accessories can impact the use of telepresence technology. McCandless first referenced the structure, payout and décor of a room, highlighting that it should be comfortable and ergonomic. Desks should be laid out so there is plenty of room for content and sharing. The room should be well-lit to create a face-to-face human interaction that is as close to real as possible.
Benz said that the telepresence implementation should aim to create, “a seamless experience that is intuitive for the customer.” Sound and lighting are both important, as both should be natural. Ease of use should also be a priority. The image captured in the technology should be clear and the furniture should be well designed at the proper height to be easy to ease and grant the ability to spread out.
McCandless noted that BrightCom aims to create the total environment.
“We create the environment kit so when you are communicating from room one to room two, the experience is seamless,” McCandless said. “It makes me feel like we are all sitting in the same room. Environment kits are the way in which we do that.”
It is difficult to achieve the seamless room experience when multiple telepresence companies and technologies are used as lighting, sound and visual qualities can all be different. This concept builds on the value of using the same telepresence provider across the board.
Benz highlighted that when something works poorly, customers are acutely aware of it. Warm lighting and proper creates a natural experience, which makes people feel more comfortable.
In the hospitality industry, telepresence presents significant opportunities for additional sources of revenue. If it is properly designed, hotel chains can be the optimal choice for guests or even target professionals locally who need the optimal face-to-face experience without the travel costs. Chains can offer room-to-room telepresence technologies that truly create the seamless experience.
So, what does the future hold for telepresence?
According to McCandless, the revolution is just beginning. He compared it to the start of the cell phone industry.
“We are moving toward an environment where video will be an expected communication platform everywhere,” he said. “As such, every room will be designed to accommodate interactive experiences. The future is telepresence and interactive public spaces will be a part of the solution.”
To hear the podcast in full, please click here to visit the Telepresence Channel on TMCnet.