Case Studies in Telepresence

Teleconferencing has been around since the 1930s but it didn’t become a standard for business until the web blended voice and video in the 1990s. Adding a face to the voice made B2B meetings more personal and simplified communications. At the time, video calls were the cutting-edge of business communication and management techniques.

That was two decades ago, and now videoconferencing is entering a new renaissance thanks to innovative technology involving an iPad and a mobile platform.

Here is a look at how three companies are using telepresence robots right now to support collaboration, improve the lives of their employees and lower operating costs.

  • Chinese film studio Light Chaser Animation was profiled by the BBC for choosing a telecommuting-by-robot solution to solve an increasingly common problem: a project team separated by an ocean. Their animation director is in Los Angeles and his production team is in Beijing. Although the company has secured talent from Hollywood, moving costs and airplane tickets are just not practical at this early stage in the company’s development. A mobile teleconference unit to unite the teams is simply the most productive solution.
  • John Deere is one of the most traditional of companies, with their headquarters in Illinois and a history of farming machine manufacturing stretching back to 1837. Yet they were among the first companies to purchase the first round of low-cost telepresence robots from Double Robotics in 2013, according to Inside Source.
  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported that Internet infrastructure giant Cisco Systems has deployed an army of telepresence robots to get a handle on their massive overseas network. Marthin De Beer, senior VP of Cisco’s video and collaboration group explained that “I’m frequently in five or six cities a day, and it would be impossible to get on that many planes. Rarely a day goes by when I’m not in at least three or four telepresence meetings.”

More and more companies like SilverEdge, a professional services management firm, have chosen to embrace telepresence technology as it has become more mainstream. Companies with mobile workers and geographically distributed teams are becoming the new face in business around the world, and more than likely that face will displayed by a mobile device on wheels.

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