Telepresence Will Never Cost $1000 (The Room Paint Alone Costs More Than That)

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In a recent blog entry, Larry Chaffin asks vendors to deliver a telepresence system SMBs can afford. While I agree with Larry's suggestion that to really take off, the videoconferencing market needs HD systems priced around $1000 per unit (monitor included), I disagree strongly with his use of the term "telepresence" in such scenarios. Telepresence delivers an immersive experience that simply can't be created with $1,000--or even with the roughly $35,000 Cisco charges for its (poorly named) Cisco Telepresence 500.Why get riled up over the misuse of a technology term? Because the market is already muddied with a slew of new technologies (HD video, unified communications, Web 2.0, telepresence, etc.), and IT managers are having a hard enough time sorting through them. Calling something what it isn't for marketing purposes doesn't help matters at all--and it runs the risk of disappointing customers who will then limit future deployments based on unmet expectations.

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