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First Cisco On Stage TelePresence Experience Demonstration in Africa

October 8, 2009 - 12 Comments

I recently attended GovTech 2009, an annual conference in South Africa, focused on bringing together technology vendors, solution providers and government stakeholders to assist the public sector in using technology as an enabler to overcome current service delivery challenges. The fourth edition of this popular event was hosted in Durban, South Africa by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). My highlight of the conference was the first ever demonstration on the African continent of Cisco’s On Stage TelePresence Experience.

Cisco On Stage TelePresence Experience at GovTech South Africa (Durban Oct 2009)

Cisco, Neotel and SITA collaborated to demonstrate the power of the human network to the 1,000-strong gala dinner audience. The audience was treated to an interaction between David McClure, representing the US-government office of Citizen Services and Moses Mtimunye, acting CEO of SITA. The gentleman shared the stage, discussing public sector challenges and solutions common to both emerging and developed markets.  With McClure standing in Virginia, US, the TelePresence holographic experience created an illusion, projecting his three-dimensional image on stage, alongside Mtimunye, who was standing behind the podium in Durban, South Africa.

The basis of this holographic demonstration was Cisco’s TelePresence virtual meeting solution , a high-definition audio-visual system representing Cisco’s solution to facilitate virtual meetings across networks.  With the perfect sync between movement and speech, neither body language nor facial expressions are lost via TelePresence. This is achieved through high-resolution, life-sized video displays.

The demonstration also underlined the benefits of how quality broadband access, together with next-generation technology, can bring additional savings to the public sector in terms of time and travel-related expenses.

Cisco booth at GovTech South Africa 2009

I read a nice comment by Minister of Public Service and Administration, Masenyani Richard Baloyi who stated that the holographic beaming in of McClure suggested a new era for SITA, by way of doing and not just talking.

Moses Mtimunye, acting CEO of SITA, summed up the holographic experience demonstration. He was quoted as saying, “Technology such as this (referring to TelePresence holographic experience) illustrates the boundless opportunity that ICT can deliver to everyday citizens. In the near future, similar technologies will make for commercially available telemedicine projects providing people in rural areas with world-class healthcare services”.

As a trusted advisor to public sector organisations across the world, Cisco is offering our South African customers expertise and technology to transform how priority services are delivered.  It was an extremely productive and rewarding three-day conference, allowing me the opportunity to share ideas and connect with thought leaders throughout the public sector.  I can also proudly report that our stand exhibiting Cisco solutions for public safety, security and healthcare won the ‘best stand’ award at GovTech 2009.

This feedback, together with the positive interaction with our customers and partners, reinforces my view that GovTech 2009 was a great success for Cisco. An exciting fact is that the technology we demonstrated is already available across emerging markets and making a difference to the lives of citizens around the world.

Tim Ellis

Public Sector Manager, Cisco South Africa

Cisco HealthPresence at GovTech 2009

Cisco HealthPresence on demo at the GovTech conference 2009


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  1. Thanks for the write up Marc. Bookmarked the page.

  2. Nice video, only the sound not heard

  3. Thanks Marc Musgrove!

  4. This technology could open up so many doors in all different industries. How exciting to think that I could communicate with my clients digitally cutting my time in half by resolving issues that don't require my physical presence while online. Who knows maybe my daughter will be taking dance lessons from a digital teacher in Sydney Australia one day.

  5. and here's Jim Wynn, director of Public Sector for Cisco's Emerging Markets theater, talking about Smart + Connected Communities in South Africa:

  6. you might also be interested in hearing Aggrey Rantloane, head of Public Sector for Cisco in South Africa, discussing our participation in the conference:

  7. Here's a video of the On Stage TelePresence Experience demo at the Govtech conference - for some reason there is no sound, but will update shortly once we have it...

  8. South Africa remains the most important country in Africa in terms of technological development. I wonder when other African countries will begin to get noticed too for such Cisco demonstration; countries such as Ghana and Nigeria.

  9. Hi Gobind - SITA took some video footage of the event, and we will hopefully be able to share that with you shortly. And yes - it was a similar concept to the demos in Bangalore and Saudi Arabia. If you haven't seen the last one, here's the link:

  10. Africa? Do you have video for this conference?

  11. Is there any video publicly available for this event like it was for Telepresence Demo in Bangalore?