Telepresence is “feeling that you are actually ‘there’ at the remote site of operation”. This is according to Marvin Minsky, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The word telepresence was coined by Minsky in the 1980s, although previously used by the author Isaac Asimov in his book The Naked Sun, in 1957.

During the starting phase of this new telepresence technology, there were many sceptics. However, Minsky himself said: “I cannot imagine anyone doubting that telepresence is possible. It is a matter of solving many problems that are difficult, but not impossible to overcome.”
Now, about three decades later, many of the obstacles to telepresence have been solved and the concept has become a viable means of communications, though still constantly growing and changing.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear of meetings and conferences which take place in geographically separate locations. It has, in fact, become ever popular – and even necessary – in today’s busy lifestyle of changing personal and business needs to be able to communicate in a telepresent manner.
For one, telepresence saves time and money. It is also much safer than conventional travelling, as well as greener, in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of automobiles and airplanes.
Telepresence is fast becoming the preferred method of communication over and above traditional methods – both in the private and business worlds.
One of the latest ventures into the telepresence sphere is using software that enables clear, high resolution video conferencing without static or interference; common aspects which users often had to deal with as a standard-part-of-the-package.
Now, HD-quality (high definition) conferencing is possible thanks to a groundbreaking patented platform developed by Vidyo, a US-based company that provides video conferencing and collaboration solutions.
Vidyo’s HD, multiparty video conferencing was designed for easy access from a number of platforms, providing a powerful visual collaboration tool for meeting face-to-face.
With Vidyo, it is possible to connect with participants via Webcams, directly from a PC or Mac computer, from the office, home or while travelling.
Vidyo makes natural video communication available to everyone over general purpose IP networks, including the Internet. This patented technology enables users to meet online regardless of their location, making high-definition video conferencing possible on every network that is good enough for Web browsing.
By contrast, traditional video conferencing systems are highly sensitive to packet loss, such as dropped frames, which add significant latency, which in turn cause blurred motion and choppy images on the receiving end. As a consequence, other systems break with as little as 5% packet losses.
Vidyo is set apart from other video conferencing solutions by the fact that, not only does it use the latest technology in terms of SVC software, but it is also acclaimed for its cost-effectiveness, a benefit sought-after by numerous international, high-end users. SVC is a recently adopted extension to the H.264 video coding standard for video compression, and one of the codec standards for Blu-ray discs.
As the technology continues to develop, Vidyo strives to remain at the forefront of making the telepresence experience a personal one. Not only are the system’s linked conferencing rooms set out in such a way that they create a unified experience by mirroring each other, but Vidyo also strives for a unique, personal experience in other areas.
For example, new software for Vidyo conferencing on smartphones and tablets are expected to be released by April 2011. This will allow users of a variety of mobile platforms to be part of a conference via their smartphone or tablet, no matter where they are.
It allows them to step out for the duration of the conference and step right back into their personal space, without ever really leaving in the first place. After all is said and done, Vidyo provides for its users' a high-quality personal telepresence experience that allows them to communication with other locations – simply, affordably and universally.