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Cisco TelePresence

The term “video conferencing” is synonymous with low quality images and out-of-sync audio. Video Conferencing quality has been poor even after more than 40 years of experience. AT&T first introduced the Picturephone at the New York World's Fair in 1964.

However, that era may finally be coming to an end if Cisco Systems, Inc. have anything to say about it. Cisco's TelePresence high-definition video images are so un-television-like that during a demonstration a few curious corporate executives strolled behind the TelePresence display wall, to make sure the people in those images were not hiding back there.

The system is superior in four points, representing also the target-goals Cisco engineers had set for themselves from the very start of the project.

1. The images of the people appear life-size on the TelePresence screen in the exact proportions that they would in real life.

2. Employing high definition 1080p images, lighting is crucial to bring out human detail without making subjects uncomfortably hot. Users should see “the gleam or the tear in the eye,” as well as the sweat on the forehead.

3. The audio appears to emanate from the person who's speaking as TelePresence screens are augmented by their own speakers. As a result, when a person who appears on the left screen speaks, the voice comes from that screen.

4. Although TelePresence signals traverse the Internet, users don't have to type in IP addresses to make the calls. The system is as simple as dialling a phone handset.
“We want people to experience the meeting, not the technology,” Phil Graham, senior director of engineering for Cisco says. According to Cisco no training is required.

If after this nice sales talk, you want to go a bit more technical and detailed, go to Creating Excellence.

In the meantime I can tell you the prices are stiff: Price tags ($299,000 for a TelePresence 3000 and $80,000 for a TelePresence 1000)