Optical/IP Networks

Oldest. Telepresence. Ever

3:10 PM -- Tired of telepresence yet? Too bad.

After viewing the telepresence offerings of two big names, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Nortel Networks Ltd. , we got the opportunity to see the original -- Teliris Ltd. . (See Nortel Trumps Cisco?, Cisco's Telepresence, and Teliris Trash-Talks TelePresence.)

In addition to a demo at the Teliris offices, we saw a demo of its very first room it ever installed in the offices of Lazard . It also happened to be the oldest telepresence room in the world, period.

Teliris was different from what we'd seen so far in a few ways, some good and some bad. We'll start with some of the advantages first.

For starters, Teliris says it runs a multipoint conference better than anyone. For example, imagine if you're in New York and are conducting a telepresence meeting with San Francisco and London. You would have each city appearing on a separate plasma screen in front of you, and Teliris claims they're the only ones who can pull this off. Cisco for example, says can only show one city at a time on screen.

Another big difference is the flexibility of Teliris. While Cisco and Nortel, through its partnership with Polycom, sell customers predetermined packages of telepresence, Teliris can pretty much build a room customized to whatever you want. Cisco, on the other hand, has two versions of its telepresence -- one screen or three screens -- and you must have a room with the necessary dimensions for it.

Teliris has a few other minor positive differences such as the ability for the cameras in the room to be controlled remotely and the option of running the service over the customer's own network or Teliris's own InfiNET network.

As far as the negatives? The sound quality was not as good as other demos we've seen, and the smaller video screens made the meeting seem less realistic. Teliris however says that it does offer larger screens than those seen in our demo.

Other than that, Teliris is comparable to the other services we've seen. It had no latency, was very easy to use, and had similar bandwidth requirements -- about 4.5 Mbit/s per screen. And its price tag was a little bit cheaper than the rest at an average of $250,000 per room. See below for some pictures.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

jcrecker 12/5/2012 | 3:50:20 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever Interesting info regarding Teliris and Cisco battles over "new technology" and telepresence.

To start, Teliris isn't the oldest as I installed three telepresence studios at Ford Motor Company back in 1985(!) to connect Ford senior executive using ISDN lines. Teliris was founded 16 years later!

I placed large rear-projection TVs on their backs, and used "teleprompter" glass to position the video on a screen right in front of the participants. We called the setup "monster-prompter".

I should also mention that Cisco states nonense when saying that no camera placement can create a perfect eye-to-eye illusion at all possible angles. Yes, this is true when using plasma screens. However, using the method I installed at Ford behind teleprompter glass meant that the participants in a room stared right into the camera when they looked at their counterparts.

Sometimes good ideas get forgotten in time....

Jim Recker
Nekoss (www.nekoss.com)
Redwood City, CA
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:57:06 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever Fun fact: Teliris CEO Marc Trachtenberg refused to even entertain the question about what it cost to set up this kind of videoconferencing in 1999, when the Lazard installation happened.

The cost of flat-panel screens alone must have been a lot higher back then. Maybe the audio too, although I don't know as much about that side.

I have to admit, the sound quality was good. The video glitched here and there -- little pixelations -- but not enough to annoy; in fact, it took some of the creepiness out of the situation.

btw, it's not like Lazard uses this every day. It can get to be "several times a week" but there'll be long droughts without anybody using the room, I was told ... it depends on what deals they're working on.
paulej 12/5/2012 | 2:57:06 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever How old is that conference room in Lazard?
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:57:05 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever 8 years. (Sorry, paulej, you snuck your post in while I was typing mine.)
TMEubanks 12/5/2012 | 2:57:05 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever The oldest Telepresence was with the TeleSuite. See, for example, this article from 1997


They started doing it in 1995, and the technology was sold to Polycom in January, 2007, to become the Polycom RPX.
Raymond McConville 12/5/2012 | 2:57:04 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever he actually eventually suggested that each screen would have cost around $15,000, but that number was a rough estimate. But it was interesting when you asked the question he initially completely blew it off saying "it didn't matter how much it cost."
metroman 12/5/2012 | 2:57:02 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever I guess having the first Telepresence suite is a bit like having the worlds first fax machine...... only any use when the second one is installed :-0


netter 12/5/2012 | 2:56:56 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever "Cisco for example, says can only show one city at a time on screen."

That unfortunately is inaccurate. Cisco can do multiple cities on multiple screens.
Raymond McConville 12/5/2012 | 2:56:53 PM
re: Oldest. Telepresence. Ever Right you are. I'll have something on that soon.
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