The benefits of video conferencing and telepresence have been known for years. Companies know the advantage of allowing more people, and in remote locations, to attend the same meetings or training sessions. Schools use telepresence to save costs while bringing top professors to a vastly greater number of students than was ever possible before. Medical specialists are able to attend to patients on the other side of the planet.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), for example, uses a telepresence room to connect to ships at sea. This allows for live communication with ships crew and remotely operated vehicles. According to (NOAA) physical scientist Adam Skarke, “… if we’re going somewhere we’ve never been before, we don’t know what we’re going to find. We don’t have enough bunks to bring an expert for everything we find." When an expert in a certain field is needed, he or she can go to the telepresence room to assist in the operation. This video feed is also made available to the public.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), has adopted telepresence on an enormous scale. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal: "Some 300 sessions a day can take place among the 20,000 scientists affiliated with CERN, though they work in institutes scattered around the globe."
As telepresence services have matured, businesses that were once reluctant to adopt the technology are now embracing it. Telepresence is not only getting more affordable, it is also becoming more immersive by adding features for better collaboration. Direct 2-way HD video and audio communication is now becoming standard, letting participants feel they are in a real face-to-face meeting with no video choppiness or time delays. Endpoint devices can be anything from smart phones, tablets or desktop computers, up to large room setups with multiple screens. People who not in the office can attend meetings from almost anywhere.