3D holographic videoconferencing – the brave new world of collaboration

24 Sep 2008

Breakthroughs in IP-based videoconferencing by major firms like Cisco and Polycom will soon see high-definition (HD) TelePresence webcams on our desktops, or businesspeople meeting each other in holographic form, a leading expert told siliconrepublic.com.

Richard Norris, an expert on videoconferencing for analyst firm Wainhouse Research said that the advent of high-bandwidth networks and availability of DSL broadband means whether at your home office, your work desk or in studio-like facilities, videoconferencing is no longer an expensive gadget.

“These technologies have opened up a brave new world for the small business, which historically was not a major investor in IT, let alone videoconferencing. But now, because IP networks like DSL and MPLS in large corporations have the technology, the cost of video endpoints has come down.”

Norris said that the expected spike in videoconference use following the tragedy of 9-11 did not materialise in 2001 and 2002. However, in 2008, with a major economic crisis unfolding before our very eyes, affordable broadband, the need to be green and the need to cut down on overseas travel will see the use of videoconferencing technology accelerate.

Norris’s research shows growth rates of global videoconference system shipments typically at 30pc, which equates to 250,000 units shipped per annum, generating US$1.25bn in revenue.

With this spike in usage, Norris predicts an acceleration in technology development.

“HD videoconferencing is already a reality, and soon HD videoconferencing over your laptop may be a real option.

“Innovation from companies like Polycom, Cisco, HP and Intel is already making the kind of videoconferencing experiences we could only dream of a reality. For example, Halo from HP and TelePresence from Cisco aim to achieve a realistic setting for conferences, with people on different continents to engage in visual collaboration.

“Very soon we could see 3D Telepresence in the marketplace,” he said referring to some ground-breaking moves by Cisco to bring holographic conferencing to the business world.

“We’re waiting for the TelePresence webcam to come to the market. Videoconferencing,” Norris concluded, “will be an experience, not a technology.”

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Richard Norris, an expert on videoconferencing for analyst firm Wainhouse Research

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years