Telepresence systems were once all the rage in high-end enterprise corporate rooms. Large companies with even larger budgets sang the praises of high-tech rooms that brought participants from all over the globe together in one place for meetings. And while telepresence offers an amazing user experience that gives attendees the feeling of being all in the same room, very often these rooms sit vacant until top executives need the advantages the technology provides. The high cost of creating and maintaining telepresence rooms, along with the need for dedicated IT teams to keep the systems running, are two reasons why telepresence is being pushed out of favor by the more affordable videoconferencing technology.
Jeff Cavins, CEO of an online telepresence and conferencing company, confirmed the waning popularity of telepresence when he wrote in a Forbes article: “Due to its high costs, telepresence has become the private jet of company boardrooms across the globe.”
Today’s businesses need more flexible solutions to meet the demands of BYOD, remote employees, and a workforce always on the go. As a result, new videoconferencing platforms have emerged as a better, more feasible, and sensible option for companies of all stripes and sizes.
Modern businesses are digital and global. Due to these new and emerging business needs, many companies that previously invested millions in top-tier telepresence systems are now turning towards videoconferencing platforms. Unlike telepresence systems, videoconferencing offers flexibility, interoperability, cost-effectiveness, and does not require an in-house support team or infrastructure. With video technology in the workplace, any employee can collaborate with their colleagues anytime, from anywhere.
Videoconferencing Takes Over Telepresence
The advances now available in video technology offer many of the same, and sometimes more, of the experiences and capabilities that made telepresence so popular and effective. Now, the telepresence service behemoths are being nudged out by smaller start-ups providing videoconferencing solutions with the following advantages:
Lower cost. Videoconferencing systems are available at a fraction of the price of telepresence systems. Not only is the video technology cost-effective, it offers a similar, and at times even better, user experience. Another advantage is that videoconferencing systems can be installed in either high end boardrooms or team huddle rooms. This flexibility helps to increase employee productivity and efficiency.
Cloud solutions. With the advent of cloud-based video solutions, most IT support is taken care of remotely by the service provider, so the need for in-house IT support is drastically reduced. This is beneficial for small and mid-size companies with limited or no IT resources. Cloud solutions provide cutting-edge software that offers seamless and cost-effective videoconferencing without the hassle of maintenance and troubleshooting. Videos can be recorded and stored securely in the cloud for future reference, enhancing accountability and providing secure storage.
Mobile solutions. The biggest downfall of telepresence systems is that they lack mobile offerings and require dedicated rooms, which doesn’t align with today’s remote, BYOD, flexible business environment. In contrast, videoconferencing is a natural fit with mobile devices, many of which are now capable of supporting HD video, allowing employees to collaborate on the go, no matter where they are.
Interoperability. The current business space is fast-paced and ever-evolving, so organizations need tech systems that cater to increased productivity and efficiency. Businesses demand videoconferencing solutions that can work flawlessly in conjunction with different systems, applications, and devices within company walls and beyond. The compatibility and interoperability of videoconferencing allows for the freedom to meet with anyone on any platform—an important feature that telepresence lacks.
Enhanced collaboration. Meetings nowadays involve sharing screens and materials, as well as intense collaboration. Videoconferencing offers features and functionalities, such as real-time content viewing, sharing, and editing for graphics, images, and audio/video, plus the ability for annotations and mark-ups. Mobile services and apps are capable of handling these technologies, making meetings efficient and productive, and not just about face time.
Technology is constantly evolving and organizations are replacing expensive, traditional systems with more high-tech, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions. Companies across the globe are embracing videoconferencing to reduce travel costs and allow for remote employees to meet and collaborate face to face. Companies large and small, including Fortune 100 companies, are looking to videoconferencing to fill the needs of a modern, flexible workspace.
Telepresence is now starting to break out of its image as a costly legacy system. Many telepresence providers are expanding their capabilities to include web-based conferencing, mobile accessibility, and cloud hosting. There is the possibility that in near the future, telepresence may become more like videoconferencing and will offer many of the same cost-effective benefits. But for now, videoconferencing is the clear winner for today’s companies that need to operate virtually, remotely, and globally.