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8 Differences between Telepresence and Videoconferencing

Technology has brought people together over the years. It has provided new avenues of communication for commercial and private users alike through telepresence vs video conferencing. These two technologies, which have often been interchanged, are two different options, each with unique features and capabilities for specific requirements. Before sighting the differences between these two technologies, it is important to understand the similarity between them: basically, these are tools used in meetings through video and audio links stimulating an actual face-to-face encounter. Now let's discuss the difference between telepresence and videoconferencing.

1. Video Structure

The video conferencing tool's video structure is quite simple. Two end points attain visual communication through a group conference. During this conference, a camera is positioned at one end of the room focusing on one person at the group of people gathered around at a meeting table. The camera would only be focused on the current speaker, and the rest of the members would appear further away from the camera, whilst one or two would appear closer usually in standard definition. Telepresence, however, is quite complex. A telepresence tool would actually emulate the appearance of an actual meeting room. Picture actually feeling like being with the person who is halfway across the world as the people would look like there were sitting at the conference table themselves. Telepresence set up to be a 1:1 ratio, with the camera focused on a single person presented on each designated screens which were all in high definition.

2. Audio Structure

Visual interference of grainy, jerky images is for the most part, tolerable. But unstable audio is a non-negotiable--- the loss of an occasional syllable is acceptable but time lag, muffling, and disjoined audio quality takes focus, causes irritation and fatigue. Telepresence has all of these addressed. As the experience is to emulate a meeting with participants seemingly in the same room, telepresence's audio is clear, echo-free, provides sufficient volume and intelligible. It has spatial audio which provides directional cues as to whom is speaking if multiple people are in the meeting. Contrariwise, videoconferencing audio is not that commendable. The quality of speech transmitted through videoconference is interfered as it only possesses a single-channel audio, therefore, all audio packets are transmitted and compressed through one output causing an inevitable reduction of audio quality.

3. Connectivity

One of the major telepresence and videoconferencing differences is the connections that are established. Most of the complaints for video conferencing usually revolves around the issue of not being able to connect their calls or unreliable connects result to a poor quality audio/video conference. Telepresence with its HD video must equipped the same standard of audio to their systems. Service providers have conducted network assessments to ensure network traffic will compromise the quality of the call. The system was properly engineered so much so that it almost always successfully avoids congestion.

4. Operability

One of the major qualms regarding videoconferencing is that it is too complex to set up and to operate. This was for the traditional set up of videoconferencing which usually intimidated its users with all the keys and buttons needed before you can even start an actual call. ezTalks, however, is a cloud based video conferencing service which addressed this problem and allows for the simplest operations and has customer service on call 24/7. On the other hand, telepresence solutions included a no-user configurable settings, simply put, there were no intimidating hand-held devices or remote controls to confuse the end users.

5. Environmental Treatment

Telepresence systems allows a more in-depth experience when it comes to having a successful video connection. As it actually emulates the look and feel of an actual face-to-face interaction, its environmental factors come in to play to be identical as well. For example, a board room table and chair has to match that of the one displayed on the screen to create the maximum feel of being in the same place as the person you're talking to. The lightings, fixtures and overall atmosphere of the actual meeting must be duplicated into the screen to achieve the telepresence quality of a video connection. Videoconferencing on the other hand, has no complications in this avenue as it takes everything as it is---whether you're in the kitchen, dining table or bathroom while you're in the video call, it doesn't matter.

6. Compatibility

Although superior in almost every aspect of operating and video and sound quality, compatibility is one of the aspects that telepresence failed to exceed over videoconferencing. Many telepresence providers do not support compatibility between its competitors. Basically, if one end point of the meeting uses a different telepresence software versus the other end point, then the functionality is limited if not, won't actually work at all. Videoconferencing, on the other hand, have taken advantage of this feat and developed all their products with enhanced compatibility. The simplified interface allowed videoconferencing among competitors at full functionality--- for this reason, most startup businesses opt for videoconferencing.

7. End User Usage Opinion

Based on a number of interviews many prefer telepresence vs videoconferencing. People use videoconferencing infrequently due to intimidation of the system. Managers usually have had to experience being delayed in highly urgent and important meetings as connections were simply difficult to establish. Another user has quipped that when more than two to three people were in the conference call, it was quite difficult to perceive who was talking as the picture grew smaller and the capacity to check body language was almost a moot point. Telepresence users however, had a different usage opinion. Most say that even they had several meetings deployed all at the same time, the connections remained up to par. It was also fairly easy to use as it only required a single button on both end points if you were using the same system. Additionally, the quality of the video and audio impacted meetings positively.

8. Costs

Telepresence tools and systems are expensive: both in purchasing and operating. The initial acquisition cost for telepresence is 300,000USD while videoconferencing costs only 40,000USD. Telepresence and videoconferencing difference when it comes to monthly network services is 1000USD for videoconferencing and 8000USD for telepresence. Over a thirty-six month operation, videoconferencing will cost a business an estimated 36000USD while 588000USD is computed for telepresence. Nevertheless, an ezTalks video conferencing plan will cost you the cheapest for only 12.99USD/month on a pro plan.

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