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Signs that Telepresence is Going Mainstream

Telepresence was once in the realm of science fiction, but as the technology is becoming a key part of many companies’ communications strategies, consumers are also showing an increased interest in telepresence and video collaboration technologies. One new Pew Research survey has pointed out that almost one-fifth of American adults have tried video calling, translating into nearly a quarter of all Internet users.

Some may argue that they’ve heard “this is the year of video” for years … and it never happens. But recently, we’ve seen video pick up momentum, market share and market interest. Just consider the following trends:

Mobility
Video is pervasive. At the consumer level, we have video nearly everywhere, from mobile solutions and tablets to PCs and game consoles. As an increasing number of telepresence solutions are implemented, you no longer need an executive boardroom dedicated specifically for telepresence or web collaboration. People are realizing that they can still have the boardroom if they want, but there are also endpoints for desktop telepresence, telepresence on-the-go with HD web cams and portable collaboration tools that can be moved from room to room. With rapidly increasing improvements in broadband and general telepresence hardware, people can use telepresence in a local coffee shop, at the airport or from the home office.

“Consumerization”
According to recent research from Harris Interactive, 14 percent of U.S. adults currently make video calls and 34 percent of them are willing to pay for them. As more people become interested and familiar with video collaboration, the belief that video is just for the enterprise is becoming outmoded. Telepresence and video collaboration allow organizations and individuals to maintain a face-to-face presence. Organizations of all sizes and people with varying budgets are using telepresence to stay connected and be more collaborative.

So could 2011 finally be the tipping point for telepresence? What do you think?


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