I was turned on to what looks a pretty cool advance in telepresence by Jason Hartgrave, who attended our week-long strategic foresight course in last week. We were talking about the growing influence of online learning, and I had mentioned how a few years back, the number of online/distance students in our hybrid classrooms had surpassed the physical and that trend continues to strengthen.
We joked a little about the bad old days of early distance learning when the technology was really crappy. Our Master’s Program uses AdobeConnect software with a room-based microphone to capture the live classroom. It’s pretty good, with the only issue being the quality of the room-based microphone is such that the sound is better if everyone is online at their individual pc/pad. We have searched for a really good room-based microphone, but nothing yet that solves the problem.
But I digress. The technical problems will eventually be resolved (but I’, open to suggestions in the meantime). The more interesting question is “what’s next” and Jason pointed me in the direction of “Beam,” which they call a smart presence system. The 1:40 second video is well worth it. Basically, if you are remote, your image on a screen is on a Segway-like device that enables you to “walk” around a room or the office, bringing a whole new dimension to the presence – you’re no longer static. Pretty cool stuff. Andy Hines