In researching the landscape of currently available telepresence products, we ran across this interesting two-page PDF file covering the high-end corporate solutions provided by Tandberg, a part of Cisco. There is also a three-page PDF white paper going through some of the major benefits of implementing remote presence that includes some fascinating, real life examples including how customers were able to continue to sustain their business even during times of crisis.
For example, the 2003 SARS epidemic in Asia and China, and the more recent H1N1 Swine Flew virus outbreak, could have had disastrous results on the business operations of companies dependent on the affected areas, if their employees had to attend business meetings there. The use of telepresence systems like this minimizes the risk and allows critical business processes to continue with a minimum of disruption. It's no wonder that major multinational corporations are embracing the technology. And with the advent of lower-cost, higher mobility remote telepresence robots, adoption is very likely to ramp up quickly.
Of course, Tandberg is selling a full corporate solution, and the so-called "white paper" is clearly marketing material, there are many points of commonality with the mobile, more individual, remote telepresence robot based approaches that have recently hit the market. However, many of the business, and possibly personal, needs are the same. They overlap quite a bit. It would be interesting to put together a scatter chart based on the two approaches, showing the key characteristics of both approaches and how they address basic market requirements.
In any case, companies like Cisco will end up being the eventual winners. Internet traffic will definitely increase as the demand for more and more bandwidth ramps up to support telepresence implementations, and that will require more infrastructure. Also, companies like Tandberg will be making strategic moves to consolidate their positions in this sector and will be definitely looking to acquire promising remote telepresence startups. It's going to be interesting, both from the perspective of a dyed in the wool robot fan, and also as a student of Wall Street trends and investment opportunities.