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What is TelePresence?

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Have you ever wondered what will happen if that means of transport you rely on for various day to day activities is not there any more? It means you will not go to work, you can't meet clients, no shopping, no meetings or workshops and many more.

Every day some of these means of transport burn thousands litres of fuel thus emitting high rate of Carbon dioxide that not only pollute and degrade the environment but also contribute to major global problems such as climate change.

Telepresence Technology
Credit: Source: flickr photos

Telepesence can create a psychological feel of presence

TelePresence can be a solution to all these. So what is TelePresence? Telepresence is a telecommunication technology that integrates High definition (HD) video, high quality vision and sound, diverse multimedia technology and communication technology in an indoor set up.

It creates a psychological feel of presence. Users, for example participants in a meeting or conference, can actually feel the state of being in the same environment as other members even though they could be miles away in the comfort of their home offices. This technology can be implemented and applied anywhere globally using the Internet Protocol (IP) technology.

Telepresence Technology
Credit: flickr photos

The technology used in TelePresence comprises of data compression which is then transmitted in real time as streams. This involves the transmission of different formats of compressed audio and video data. The transmitted data (audio and video) is first encoded, a process that involves sampling, quantization and data encoding.

This process results into the audio and video being transformed into forms of 0’s (zeros) and 1’s (ones) digital data format. Different data encoding techniques such as Manchester, Differential Manchester, Unipolar, or Bipolar can be used. Data compression is usually performed by use of audio and video Codec (Coder/Decoder) which actually could be a Software or a Hardware.

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The encoded data is then transmitted to the destination as packets of digital streams. On the receiving end, a Telepresence system will be used to decode the digital data streams back to the original uncompressed audio and video data.

TelePresence is almost similar to VideoConference but the difference comes in the way TelePresence create an almost natural immersive experience between the present users and the remote participants. Variation in vision screens, ambiance, bandwidth, clarity, resolution etc. only adds up to the level of immersion. Wideband codecs can be used to improve the quality of audio over the IP network while the clarity of video depends on the speed of video frames per seconds.

Telepresence technology
Credit: Flickr photos

TelePresence create an almost natural immersive experience between the present users and the remote participants

One of the considerations that should be made while designing a TelePresence system is how the data will be transmitted over the telecommunication network. For example, will the data be transmitted through an overlay network or a converged network? Overlay network provides parallel connections and is less complex to configure.

On the other hand converged network provides a single network for different data (audio, video) transmission and is more complex to set up. One also needs to consider the speed of data frames. Bandwidth matters because the quality of a TelePresence system is limited by the distance of data transmission.

Design of a TelePresence system will mostly be limited by installation cost, equipment, cost of bandwidth, expertise, distance, topographical setup, provision of LAN or WAN among other factors. TelePresence system is one the technology tools that can be implemented in schools and in many other areas including education, business, hospitality and military.

So now you know about TelePresence. If we had embraced this technology may be that Carbon dioxide emission would be no more, after all that was the agreement in Kyoto Protocol.

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