Adding Collaboration to Telepresence
A new entry in the video/collaboration market combines high-definition video conferencing (aka telepresence) with seamless, enterprise-wide collaboration: a communications concept that allows you to continue working in your familiar desktop environment.
Telepresence replicates face-to-face meetings. For example, high-definition video displays allow participants to read non-verbal communications clues such as body language and facial expressions. But the all-important collaboration aspect has, until now, been somewhat clunky. Files need to be exchanged in advance and an add-on service employed in order to go through presentations.
Solutions have come down in price and size and now they can be deployed at the desktop: see "Affordable Ubiquitous Telepresence". Apart from the financial savings, this is an important development since it enables participation from informal environments where one is more relaxed and productive. But seamless collaboration is still missing.
Regular videoconferencing solutions, including Telepresence, handle desktop sharing as a second video stream. A telecollaboration solution developed by Magor Communications, a Canadian-based, privately held company, makes desktop sharing an integral part of the Telepresence experience. Collaboration is used just like a regular application; it doesn’t change the way you work.
You make a UC-type mouse click to communicate with the participants, and collaboration (the second C in UCC) is enabled when somebody opens and shares a file. No client software is needed for simultaneous, secure sharing of multiple desktops. The solution allows authorized participants to see, control and edit shared files and documents in real time.
The Desktop Experience
All that is required is one or more screens that can display video at 1080p. This resolution is needed to pick up on those non-verbal communication cues and other background elements. The single screen, single camera solution can display up to six video and collaboration windows.
When two screens are used, as shown in Figure 1, different video and collaboration windows can be created (up to 12). This solution can have one or two cameras.
Figure 1. This shot of the two-screen solution shows how video and collaboration windows can be deployed to match individual requirements
The large black boxes house the server/servers.
The three-screen, two- or three-camera solution is designed for geographically dispersed teams and those that need to collaborate with off-site parties. In this case, up to 18 video and collaboration windows can be employed.