Telepresence Is Dead

It lived a good life. It showed people what video technology could unleash by putting training wheels on the video communications experience while adding cost, complexity and inflexibility. It was a solution for the select few. We thank telepresence – the three-screen, mirrored room, luxe video conferencing category – for giving the market a proof of concept. But its 15 minutes have come to a timely end.

Recently, there’s been a lot of industry buzz around both the Forbes contributed article and some new research that several analyst firms have debuted on the global video conferencing and telepresence market.

According to Frost & Sullivan, immersive telepresence remains a niche solution due to its exorbitantly high costs to purchase and operate. The firm reported that revenue growth from multi-codec immersive telepresence systems was significantly lower than the revenue growth in single-codec room systems in 2011. Further, Wainhouse Research reported a 16.3% year-over-year decline worldwide in the telepresence category.

So why is telepresence becoming obsolete?

The answer comes down to the two most valuable aspects of any company’s business: time and money. Let’s break it down.

According to Gartner, the total cost of deploying a single immersive telepresence suite (in just one room) can range in list price from $200,000 to $700,000. Tack on the managed service elements (which can average about $12,000 per system, per month with dedicated network bandwidth) and you’re looking at one hefty, ongoing price tag.

Businesses simply can’t justify the staggering costs to deploy telepresence. And honestly even if they could afford to, why would they? Is nearly half a million dollars really justifiable when all you need is to connect disparate teams to collaborate over just-as-good-as-being-there video?

There’s a better way

The time has come to enable companies to reap the rewards of the “telepresence promise” that’s within reach for every business. Organisations need technology that improves productivity, increases face-to-face communication and speeds up decision making at a price point that makes sense. You shouldn’t be bound by the technology you’re using; it should enhance the way you work. Being able to have a video call with any vendor, client or colleague (no matter what device they’re using) is no longer a nice-to-have option. It should be a requirement – anyone, anywhere, on any device.

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As Vice President and General Manager of Video Solutions, Michael Helmbrecht manages the LifeSize video portfolio including product lifecycle management and product marketing. Prior to LifeSize, he spent nine years with Dell in a number of executive marketing posts, most recently as the Director of Marketing responsible for leading product line management for data storage and networking in the Americas. Michael holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts in political science from Colgate University.

  • Telepresence is far from dead. To say all dedicated telepresence solutions don’t improve productivity, don’t interoperate, and lack the tools to collaborate is completely inaccurate. Yes, selected telepresence systems face interoperability challenges, but this has been alleviated for the majority. If telepresence is dead, why are many of the Fortune 500 continuing to invest in the technology? Because they want the best video collaboration solution available, and to them telepresence is not of insurmountable value to warrant continuous investment.

  • Ischai carre

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    Full immersive Telepresence environments for between €100k and €160k
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