Telepresence shatters communication barriers

From high-end suites to tabletop codecs, telepresence systems create a near face-to-face experience at increasingly affordable prices

Teliris Telepresence: The old dog with new tricks

Whereas some networking and technology manufacturers recently moved into the telepresence area, Teliris was in on the ground floor 10 years ago. As such, its current fifth-generation solutions are sometimes more innovative. For instance, the company offers optional multitouch tables (pictured below), easels, and walls to interact with content (video, text, photos, and files) using gestures.

Standard features across the Teliris line include pod microphones (with advanced audio processing) and Virtual Vectoring technology that automatically moves cameras to maintain eye contact with all meeting participants.

As with Cisco and HP, Teliris offerings span the range of price and size. Teliris Personal Telepresence ($32,500), a single-screen system for individuals or executive offices, offers broadcast-quality HD video (720p) on a 40-inch display. You can collaborate through picture-in-picture or hook up a second monitor. It also connects to standards-based telepresence and videoconferencing systems through the Teliris Telepresence Gateway.

Teliris Express ($99,000 to $125,000) provides a two- or three-screen (46 inches, 30 or 60 frames per second) experience that fits into existing conference rooms and seats four to six participants.

Teliris VirtuaLive Telepresence is the company's high-end, turnkey solution. Designed to handle 28 participants per room, everything is installed, managed, and supported by Teliris. When specifying meeting rooms, you can select three to six HD monitors (52 or 65 inches), number of seats and rows, and 60-fps high-definition video.

Finally, Teliris Custom Telepresence, as the name implies, lets organizations customize a room for special environments, such as R&D labs, factory floors, or even oil exploration platforms.

The company manufactures its own camera lenses and tracking systems to help ensure realistic eye contact and to capture nonverbal cues. Teliris' signal encoding and decoding handles both standard and high-definition video efficiently, which reduces bandwidth needs. And simple interfaces make easy work of participating in a meeting.

Narrowing your choices

There's plenty to consider when shopping for a telepresence solution. Features vary from product to product. For example, you might need multiple cameras, but not 1080p high-definition video. This table will give you an overview of what each vendor delivers.

Additionally, you should look for a telepresence solution that adheres to standards. For example, compatibility with H.323 (a recommendation by the ITU Telecommunications Standardizations Sector) provides interoperability with videoconferencing equipment from different manufacturers. As a result, your meetings and training sessions can include other institutions or business partners.

Finally, you'll need to make sure your network can handle the weighty bandwidth requirements of telepresence. A general rule of thumb is that you'll need at least 1 Mbps for each video stream, or screen, at 720p resolution, and at least 4 Mbps per screen at 1080p. Naturally, there are practices and products, such as traffic shaping and protocol acceleration technology, that can help you with that.

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