Immersive telepresence — the catch-all term for videoconferencing rooms equipped with displays that offer life-sized HD video, top-notch sound and specially designed furniture — is a victim of its own success. Talk to industry experts and they all agree — the technology is moving fast now and that can create issues for new adopters.
“It is maybe kind of a paradox, but because things are moving rapidly, it’s sometimes hard to understand and make decisions, and I think that sometimes slows customers down,” says Alan Benway, executive director of AT&T Telepresence Solutions.
“The equipment refresh cycles are fairly short,” says Tim Waters, senior technology consultant for the Sextant Group. “I haven’t seen any that lasted more than about five years because the technology continues to develop products that become obsolete. Parts then become more expensive to replace,” he says.
An equipment refresh cycle is when a product has gone beyond its useful life, and that useful life can be determined by a variety of factors. One of those factors is that there is simply better technology out there, Waters says.
Once you’ve made the decision to jump on board, next you could run into difficulties with IT convergence. Understanding and improving the impact on LANs and WANs is a challenge, especially as you plan to expand your use of video, says Benway.
According to Rafi Anuar of LifeSize Communications, IT practioners are wrestling with integrating immersive telepresence — indeed all videoconferencing — into their broader environment. Integrating the IP PBX telephone system, integrating the calendaring system, such as Exchange Server or Gmail, to reserve rooms, deploying the infrastructure—these