The word “telepresence” conjures up images of the movie Avatar. It is supposed to imply that you actually have a “presence” in the room. Telepresence is a glossy marketing term that really means: “unnecessarily expensive teleconference”. A standard video conference call will give you exactly the same “presence” in a room.
A picture really is worth 1,000 words. This picture of a “Telepresence” group tells you everything you need to know about why teleconferencing is better than “telepresence.”
Unless you’re looking for a way to throw money off the back of a train, that is.
Look at all that money! The screens will be $5,000 each, and that much dedicated office space in a downtown skyscraper probably rents for $100,000 a year. And that’s in each building, in each location!
What happens when the meeting is over? Who uses that room?
The IT support to set all that up and keep it running doesn’t come cheap either. Not to mention the wasted time for staff in each building to run up and down elevators and go and sit in the same room.
Video Conference calls save staff time because they start when you pick up your phone and end when you hang up.
Face to face communication is very important, and saving airfare and staff time are too, but you can do both those things more efficiently from the comfort of your own desk with a simple video conference call for free.
Notice they painted the wall blue. They do that in telepresence suites so that everyone “feels like they are in the same room.”
A video conference call is better than telepresence because it isn’t trying to create “make believe.” If some people on a call are sitting in a busy marketplace in India, and the other people are in Paris France, and others are in Arnprior Ontario, then a conference call will show that.
The whole point of a conference call is to get people together in different rooms, and help them share information and ideas.
Communication is all about weaving a tapestry of difference by bringing together divergent points of view.
Same features, less cost
Conference calls give you all the same Features as a telepresence call, with no overhead, no downloads, and no IT support. All the software is online, waiting for you to access it.
All you need is your computer, (if you want), and your phone.
A better way
A teleconference is better than a “telepresence” event because all the technology you need is in your pocket, or sitting on your own desk.
You don’t need to get up and go anywhere. You have access to your files in case you need something. You are on your home turf, where you can bring your important perspective to the meeting.
If you have the kind of money James Cameron had to spend on his movie Avatar, telepresence suites are a fun way to create your own sci-fi movie studio.
If your goal is to promote efficient, effective communication that embraces geography and shares ideas, then videoconferencing is for you.