Your patients gather in a modestly decorated room with comfortable chairs and soothing colors. On the three HD displays are five of their fellow patients and a doctor. They are life size. The doctor, seated on the left, begins to speak. Your guests hear the sound of his voice come from the screen displaying him. Within moments everyone is caught up in an important consultation. Your patients would not haven been able to travel to the consultation and would have missed it if it wasn’t for your hotel’s immersive telepresence system. There is nothing like offering premier service.
Immersive telepresence is the Rolls Royce of videoconferencing and arguably of computing itself. With prices for these dedicated, comprehensive rooms ranging from $150,000 to more than $300,000, you are paying for the “better than being there” experience.
The reason that it is better than being there is because of the so-called “Big Four” benefits: First, you don’t have to travel, avoiding aggressively thorough TSA agents, and you can be at your son’s baseball game that night while leaving your travel budget untouched. Second, you have the entire day to be productive, instead of trying to get something done on the laptop balanced on your knees in the airport waiting area. And third, you have done your part for the environment by shrinking your carbon footprint.
“If you’re talking about telepresence to take travel out of the equation, that certainly does change the way folks work. A tool like telepresence and video conferencing lets us get top talent to the table without a lot of expense,” says David Jacobs, principal of TechKnowledge Consulting. “Whereas years earlier, we would have had to pay a lot of money to bring top talent to the table or download that information to one individual and hope they went to the meeting and did what they were supposed to do.”
The fourth, and perhaps most beneficial advantage of telepresence is that it also changes the way a medicine works.
“We always want people to think first about [each way they will use the system]. What do they want to do with telepresence?” says David Hsieh, vice president of Emerging Technologies. One way to use the room is use it to reduce travel. Another is to bring new services to patients