HD telepresence arrives

Sigh, I thought this story was embargoed until tomorrow morning but I guess not. I should have known the rules. If PR says 8 a.m. on Monday that really means 6 p.m. Sunday night.

Anyway, I’m editing the video now and it’ll be up in the morning.

Cisco is the one doing the announcing. Here’s what I saw last week.

The PR folks led me into a room. I turned on my camera. I thought there were six people around a desk at first. I saw Mike Vizard, who is on the Gillmor Gang, among other things.

We say hi, but then I notice that the three people on the other side of the desk are actually on HD screens and aren’t in the room at all.

The desk is made to fool your eye into thinking the folks on the screens (if you haven’t figured it out yet, Mike Vizard was actually in New York, along with two others) are actually in the room at the same table with you. In an article about this in the San Jose Mercury News a Gartner Analyst said it was “like magic.” I agree. When you first experience this it is stunning.

There is lighting built in to make sure you look great. Microphones (using surround sound, so the voices come from where they are located on the screens) are built into the table.

The video tomorrow will show you a bit of how it feels to be in one of these rooms, but I’m watching and it doesn’t really demonstrate the experience. Being in this is unreal: like being teleported into a Star Trek movie.

Cost? $300,000 for the three-screen version, or $80,000 for single screen version, so this is only for really rich people or companies right now. More articles about the Cisco Telepresence system are on Google News.

I used to sell videoconferencing systems for Winnov. This is nothing like what you can get on cheaper systems. Tomorrow’s video will give you a lot more details.