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Cisco adds immersive video wall option to telepresence technology

Gina Narcisi

Cisco and Prysm Inc., a video display provider, have recently partnered to provide businesses with immersive telepresence technology -- a combination of the Cisco TelePresence platform and Prysm's videowall technology.

"There are many large [enterprises] with a need for very high-quality, lifelike video-conferencing meetings," said Rich Costello, senior research analyst for UC and enterprise communications infrastructure at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC. "It's a good opportunity for vendors to partner to create a strong telepresence experience."

Telepresence technology: Giving enterprises a new experience

Although the

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telepresence market has declined as enterprises move in favor of more flexible desktop and mobile video-conferencing technology, some businesses still need the telepresence room experience for important collaboration with partners and customers.

San Jose, Calif.-based Prysm has released two new high-definition videowalls based on laser phosphor display (LPD) for Cisco TelePresence environments -- a 117 inch diagonal videowall for medium-sized rooms and a 190-inch diagonal videowall for large rooms, with or without a touchscreen option. The Prysm devices work with Cisco's standards-based TelePresence codecs and cameras.

The videowalls will allow users to interact with meeting attendees and content, and access collaborative and unified communications applications.

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Desktop video and telepresence interoperability

Telepresence technology gets vendor push

"Enterprises should have one meeting screen in front of them that they can use for multiple functions," said Amit Jain, CEO of Prysm. "The touchscreen capability allows users to move content around, make annotations without a separate whiteboard screen and see other [meeting attendees] on one wall."

The touchscreen optional capability built into the videowalls will support touch and motion control, and it can interface with mobile devices -- such as tablets and smartphones -- as a touch pad to push content or control the wall, Jain said. The videowalls also support users coming in from third-party video-conferencing systems and mobile devices.

The energy-efficient LPD technology allows the videowalls to deliver images in eye-pleasing, ambient lighting and consumes less power and runs cooler than many displays, with no additional electrical support required for a plug-and-play deployment, Jain said.

"Our display technology allows users to see the screen at the same image quality from every angle, with effective brightness and color," he said.

Enterprises have had to use separate vendor products before for touchscreen, smart-board and video capabilities, but these third-party offerings haven't tied into a business's existing telepresence room technology and collaborative applications. Microsoft and Polycom have also begun incorporating touchscreen technology into their room-based offerings, said Andrew Davis, senior partner and analyst at Duxbury, Mass.-based Wainhouse Research.

Not every enterprise needs a telepresence room

Not every enterprise will require a large, immersive video-conferencing experience, but certain verticals will be interested in adopting new telepresence technology.

Media and production companies, or large engineering or architectural firms that have to share and collaborate on large files, or organizations that often have to make presentations and produce high-quality video for sizable audiences, will benefit from a large, touchscreen display, IDC's Costello said. "Any company that needs to do in-depth collaboration would be a candidate for this offering," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.


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