Mobile telepresence offers huge opportunity for business and industry

As mobile devices with advanced features and improved network coverage become commonplace, telepresence has gone mobile.

October 29, 2012

By Steven Robertson, UC Product Manager at Kathea

As mobile devices with advanced features and improved network coverage become commonplace, telepresence has gone mobile, evolving beyond the typical static virtual meeting place that videoconferencing offers. Mobile telepresence software will integrate a tablet PC or notebook into high-end telepresence suites but beyond this, what is exciting a lot of organisations is the immense opportunity and potential that wireless mobile communication solutions like AudiSoft offer such as feature-rich functionality for mobile telepresence between remote experts and field agents over Wi-Fi, 3G/4G, satellite or mesh networks.

In real terms, this solution extends the benefits of telepresence – being in one-on-one contact with others and being able to hear, see and speak to them as though they were in the same room – from the boardroom out into the field and into the installed client base. It can put a roomful of specialists into an operating theatre in a remote location in Africa, an electronics engineer into the guts of ailing machinery, a technician into a data centre, a mine supervisor at the coalface, or a teacher into a classroom a thousand kilometers away.

Steven Robertson, UC Product Manager at Kathea, a value added distributor of visual communications solutions, says, “For any organisation, be it a corporate offering consultation, a service provision outfit, a product supplier or maker, mobile telepresence now offers measurable benefits. It can be used for industrial troubleshooting and maintenance, inspection and quality assurance, medical assistance and distance learning. It improves service delivery and physical reach, mitigating risk, cutting costs and improving the productivity of expensive scarce resources. And that’s just some of the benefits.

“Today, mobile telepresence offers a lot more than just communication, it enables effective interaction. Solutions like AudiSoft make use of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to enable communication comprising several media streams over IP, has a Windows 7 operating system that will facilitate intelligent integration with third-party applications and other telepresence solutions, as well as offers multipoint audio and video that can be stationary or contained in a portable, hands-free configuration with autofocus camera. Uptake is increasing as the potential and opportunity is realised across industry sectors.

Mobile telepresence inside, outside, underground
The AudiSoft mobile telepresence solution comes in a number of formats for different applications, a reflection of the number of environments in which it has found acceptance.

For example, mobile telepresence solution may be used by a single or multiple users in a harsh environment (e.g., a miner, a geologist, a telecoms technician in a remote site) or by a corporate or service organisation that wants to use it with tablets or other smart mobile devices used in a typical business environment for interaction with staff and clients. Mobile telepresence is also useful in environments where multipoint audio and video interactions are needed. And a server based mobile telepresence solution will integrate with existing corporate infrastructure, including video conferencing systems and Web browsers.

The AudiSoft range includes all these options. These solutions are also all network agnostic, connecting via Wi-Fi, 3G/4G or satellite and all offer unified communications i.e. they are fully interoperable with videoconferencing systems, make use of SIP, are Windows 7 based, can be configured to meet the requirements of corporate IT security policies and will integrate with third-party applications.

New technology drives new business models, competitiveness
As technology continues to advance, it is allowing organisations to adapt their business models, driving down costs and increasing value for their clients.

Says Robertson, “With mobile telepresence, there’s no need to wait three days or two weeks for an expert to fly in and repair the malfunctioning machinery – a technician with a mobile telepresence device and a handheld camera can provide all the needed information. Similarly, the factory floor needn’t grind to a halt while the technician travels in to replace a fuse – in-house staff can be guided with the use of mobile telepresence to do the repair. Everyone is more productive, more value is added, costs are saved and, with less miles travelled, green footprints grow.

“At Kathea, we believe that mobile telepresence will soon be a key driver of competitiveness in a number of industries. There is little to beat being on site and having one-on-one interactions and mobile telepresence offers that when it’s most critical.”

Well adopted in growing vertical applications like industrial maintenance, machinery inspection, product quality control, distance learning, medical assistance and energy production, AudiSoft is a leader in the field of Mobile Telepresence.