Fast Company

3D Breakthrough Changes How We Meet, Share, Buy & Play

He was in Bangalore and his co-presenters were in San Jose, yet Cisco’s CEO appeared live - on thesame stage. How? By using a breathtaking 3D holographic-like technology.They tout it as, “the world’s first real time virtual presentation. Aptly, it’s called TelePresence.

See Sir Richard Branson – live at a London press conference, while standing at Necker Island, his Caribbean retreat. Or preview “the first space age Olympic swim suit.” On Wednesday a Telstra executive in Melbourne, Australia interacted with an audience in Adelaide.

My friend Rick watched a demo and raved about it. Suddenly, this is a competitive space. And, yes, this is Cisco’s big new business, partnering with Musion, yet it will have to cost less to gain traction. Why am I interested in it, aside from the astounding effect of a holographic human presence?

Because:

• The realistic presence it provides means people around the world can gather for what really feels like an in-person gathering.

• The best actors anywhere for a particular play can assemble to enact it, for more people to see - live and later.

• The top experts on a topic can appear on a panel, taking questions from audiences in many places.

• Crowdsourcing becomes easier.

In short, it enables more realistic “face-to-face” group collaboration. Cisco had an I-Prize contest in which anyone could propose novel ways to use this technology. Already it is in 28 countries, lightening the carbon footprint. Five years ago I spoke on Cisco’s global, in-house on-demand TV station. I still get emails from Cisco employees who clicked on their computer to see my presentation when they thought it might help them with a current need. Holographic-like appearances, however takes that kind of live and on-demand capability to a whole new level.

As useage goes up and cost goes down, the world will flatten for more Me2We opportunities. We’ll be able to get a better feel for each other, no matter where we actually are. I can hardly wait to try it.

Skip travel and lodging costs. Meeting Planners’ Alert:

For PCMA, SGMP, MPI, ASAE, NSA,MeCo, MeetingsNet, MiForum and others in the meeting or communication professions: bring the most relevant speakers and panelists to the same stage - no matter where they are standing in the world. Enable “attendees” to talk with them. Encourage convention centers and conference hotels to provide this capacity, offered by Cisco, HP or other firm. Set the bar higher.

First, Cisco CEO John Chambers is providing it for large conferences, concerts, events, awards ceremonies, multi-site meetings, high level briefings, retail, museums and product launches - even movies and soldier/family conversations. Then Chambers wants to bring it to our homes. (Well, not every room, in the home.) Stay tuned.

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