In the mid-year report card on my 2010 virtual event predictions, I wrote about the first telepresence-enabled virtual event – the “Sustainability Virtual Summit: Smart ICT”, produced by G2Events. Subsequent to my posting, I heard from Bruno Castejon, Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of G2Events.
“G2Events is the first Virtual event management services firm to truly integrate Telepresence”, notes Castejon. “We captured the Telepresence feed (high definition video and audio) straight out of the Telepresence racks and rendered the true Telepresence experience over IP in our virtual event platform. It provided the Virtual Conference attendees a truly immersive experience, as if they were sitting in a Telepresence suite”.
Sustainability Virtual Summits
“Sustainability Virtual Summit: Smart ICT” had 8 sessions (out of a total of 35) that included Telepresence enablement. Five of the eight sessions were round-table discussions with panelists participating from different geographic locations. G2Events is looking at physical events as well, where Telepresence can serve to bridge on-site and remote participants.
According to G2Events, there is a science behind the technology and process for bringing Telepresence into physical events, especially when one factors in cost and scalability considerations. “G2events believes Telepresence is one of the most promising technologies to bridge the physical and virtual event worlds and optimize the value of a true hybrid model”, said Castejon.
Hemisphere, the parent company of G2Events, and NAB recently announced a partnership to launch “TelepresenceWorld 2011” at the 2011 NAB Show (April 9-14, 2011). Telepresence World 2011 will be a hybrid event, combining an on-site conference with a concurrent virtual event, “TelepresenceWorld 2011 Virtual Live!”.
Notes Castejon, “This will really be a showcase hybrid event demonstrating how Telepresence, in addition of being a very powerful collaboration solution, is also an impactful channel to efficiently reach out to large audiences for marketing purposes”.
Telepresence and Virtual Events
At Sustainability Virtual Summits, Telepresence-enabled panels had increased attendee satisfaction – delegates were most engaged with that format. Castejon notes that the viewing “completion rate” for the Telepresence-enabled panels was by far the highest of all content broadcast during the show. “They constituted the very reason why the average time at the event was over 2 hours and 50 minutes per attendee”, notes Castejon.
Bruno contributes two of his own predictions for 2010:
- Before 2010 is over, the technology integration will be mature enough to bring Telepresence Live into Virtual Event platforms.
- Before 2010 is over, the Virtual event platform leaders will release “full screen” capabilities for video content. This will take the delegate experience even higher and make Telepresence-enabled panels even more enjoyable.
Think of it as “Telepresence as a Service” – you receive the benefits of Telepresence without the capital investment and hardware support. “You can now show up at a public Telepresence facility (e.g. Cisco, Marriott, Taj, Starwood) nearby and rent both the room and infrastructure at a cost of $300 or lower”, notes Castejon. The “Telepresence footprint” (both private and public) is reaching critical mass. Castejon adds, “The number of rooms is now such that it provides proximity with most, if not all the main business hubs in the world”.
Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP)
At the InfoComm conference last week, Cisco announced “interoperability between Cisco and Tandberg TelePresence systems, and with other third-party systems, by integrating the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) on Cisco’s newly acquired Tandberg TelePresence Server”. Castejon says this “is a BIG deal”, since it allows one vendor’s system to interoperate with another’s (e.g. in theory, a session betweeen Cisco Telepresence and HP Halo systems).
While TIP does define interoperability at a protocol level, Castejon notes that telcos will need to follow suit on carrier interoperability. “Existing private and public Telepresence deployments are on private networks. As of today, I do not believe these carriers have found a way to manage Telepresence roaming. If two parties use different carriers (e.g. one AT&T and the other BT), they still might not be able to communicate”, notes Castejon.
Telepresence is a technology to watch – it can facilitate a “virtual meeting” or “virtual event” on its own. Combined with a virtual event, however, it can significantly expand its audience reach and power. If you plan to integrate Telepresence into your virtual events, leave a comment below and let us know of your plans.