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Telepresence For the 1%

Telepresence is something beyond any kind of desktop video calling/conferencing. I get that. A recent update to a post at Telepresence Options details Polycom’s band new Immersive Studio. Reading through the post I must say that I am intrigued and even impressed. However, the $426K starting price suggests that I never actually see one of these installations in person. These sorts of environments are clearly for the 1%.

That said, there are some notable things about the Immersive Studio, things that may be transferable to the rest of us. For example, they use 84” 4K LCD displays. They don’t intend to pass 4K video between sites, at least not yet. They still have 1080p cameras, up-scaling the video for display.

The use of 4K displays is significant. It looks forward to a future time when new compression techniques and bigger/cheaper bandwidth makes UHD/4K more practical. It also provides sizeable display surfaces, useful even for the more common 720p video that I encounter. A single 4K display can show nine 720 video streams at full-resolution. That’s genuinely useful.

The Polycom RealPresence Immersive Studio makes use of spatial audio to make the voices of the participants appear to emanate from their location on-screen. That would certainly make the conversation more natural. If I interrupted a speaker they would instinctively turn to face me. That makes sense.

Polycom RealPresence Immersive Studio

The new camera cluster design seems innovative, although I agree with TPO that it’s unfortunate that the module is visible in front of the center most participant in the room. That is perhaps unfortunate.

The fact that the camera cluster can accommodate someone standing up without cutting off their head seems a good idea. It shows careful attention to the geometry of the room.

I certainly appreciate the fact that the room is designed around delivering the optimal user experience. That means carefully considered lighting and acoustic treatments.  I wish more people gave the matters greater consideration in common office/meeting room settings. Heck, I wish that I could more optimally treat my workspace. It’s on my wish list, but unfunded at present.

I may never  get to experience Polycom’s Immersive Studio in person, but it’s nice to know that someone will. Hopefully some of the thinking behind such installations will trickle down to the rest of us in some fashion.

I do wish that Polycom sold the Immersive Studio via Amazon! That way I could put up an affiliate link and hope for the best.

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