Videoconferencing has allowed testimony to be used for individuals who are not able to attend the physical legal settings. In a military investigation in North Carolina, Afghan witnesses have testified using videoconferencing.
Telepresence is a matter of degree. Rarely will a telepresence system provide such comprehensive and convincing stimuli that the user perceives no differences from actual presence. But the user may set aside such differences, depending on the application. Watching television, for example, although it stimulates our primary senses of vision and hearing , rarely gives the impression that the watcher is no longer at home. However, television sometimes engages the senses sufficiently to trigger emotional responses from viewers somewhat like those experienced by people who directly witness or experience events. Televised depictions of sports events, or disasters such as the , can elicit strong emotions from viewers.
As the screen size increases, so does the sense of immersion, as well as the range of subjective mental experiences available to viewers. Some viewers have reported a sensation of genuine vertigo or motion sickness while watching IMAX movies of flying or outdoor sequences.
Even the fairly simple telephone achieves a limited form of telepresence, in that users consider themselves to be talking to each other rather than talking to the telephone itself. To an observer with no knowledge of telephones, watching a person chatting to an inanimate object might seem curious, but the telephone is readily usable by almost everyone who can speak and listen.
Rather than traveling great distances, in order to have a face-face meeting, it is now possible to teleconference instead, using a multiway video phone. Each member of the meeting, or each party, can see every other member on a screen or screens, and can talk to them as if they were in the same room. This brings enormous time and cost enefits, as well as a reduced impact on the environment by lessening the need for travel - a damaging source of carbon emissions.
A good telepresence strategy puts the human factors first, focusing on visual collaboration solutions that closely replicate the brain's innate preferences for interpersonal communications, separating from the unnatural "talking heads" experience of traditional videoconferencing. These cues include life–size participants, fluid motion, accurate flesh tones and the appearance of true eye contact. This is already a well-established technology, used by many businesses today.
The chief executive officer of Cisco Systems, John Chambers in June 2006 at the Networkers Conference compared telepresence to teleporting from Star Trek, and said that he saw the technology as a potential billion dollar market for Cisco.
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