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Rosi Maria Heller

Telepresence: A modern way for collaborative work

ISBN: 978-3-8428-5158-0

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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Diplomica Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 11.2010
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 136
Abb.: 33
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


Raising global competition, increasing customer demand, requests to deliver just-in-time, and an increasing pressure to cut costs are only a few examples to express the need for more flexibility, speed and agility of organizations. Companies in different industry segments can achieve this requirement by flexible organizational structures, a knowledgeable and motivated workforce, and the application of technology and communication media. In this context the composition of teams plays an important role because it has proven to be a fast and comprehensive way to solve problems, to fulfil customer demand, and to develop new products and processes. Over the past decade the construct of teams has further developed into so called virtual teams. Virtual teams are teams which include team members who work together remotely from various locations around the globe. The modality of working in virtual teams becomes more popular as the world’s population becomes more connected. Research proposes that virtual teams are as effective as traditional teams. Virtual teams offer the opportunity to meet the challenges of cost effectiveness, product quality, and speed in an international setting that is driven by customer orientation and a rapidly changing economy. Furthermore, people with the most experience and knowledge for a specific business topic can be brought together no matter where they are located in the world. In a virtual team setting, modern communication technology plays an important role because it brings together the virtual team members that are located in various places around the globe. Formerly, members of a traditional team had many opportunities to meet in-person to discuss business and project issues. But with team members working from distributed locations, meeting in-person is hindered. In such cases a team depends heavily on communication technology that offers some kind of substitution for meeting in-person. Video conferencing has long been known as one option to meet distributed team members face-to-face. Because traditional video conferencing had its limitations, vendors lately have introduced telepresence systems. These systems are designed to counteract the hindrances of traditional video conferencing. Thus, the purpose of this book is to investigate whether, or not the modern communication technology has the capability to support managing from a geographical distance. Furthermore, it is to find out whether telepresence can facilitate virtual team work in the major tasks.


Text Sample: Chapter 3.3, Video conferencing/telepresence: The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. Peter Drucker. Today, many organizations throughout several industries have benefit from deploying video conferencing technology. Video conferencing is a set of telecommunication technology that enables users in two or more different locations to engage in a two-way, interactive audio and video communication. Applications of audio and video technology allow team members of different organizational sites to come together for a meeting. The meeting can either take place between only two dispersed team members (point-topoint), or among multiple team members who are located in several different sites (multipoint). Video conferencing can also be used to share computer-displayed information, documents, and White boards. Traditional, analog video conferencing systems typically involved two closed-circuit television systems that were connected via cable. Today’s video conferencing core technology consists of digital compression of audio and video streams in real time. A codec is responsible for coding and decoding. It is the hard- and software that induces compression. The digital compressed stream is divided into smaller parts, the so called labeled packets. These packets are then transmitted through a digital network like ISDN or IP networks. The introduction of the digital telephony transmission network, ISDN, with a minimum bit rate of normally 128 kilobits per second, allowed compressed video and audio transmission. As ISDN networks expanded, video conferencing systems started to appear in the marketplace. In the beginning the systems were highly expensive but transformed later into standard based technology available to the general public at reasonable costs. Within the last decade traditional video conferencing technology has developed greatly. For example, the move to Internet Protocol (IP) networks has permitted the possibility for greater bandwidth at lower costs. Advanced networks provide improved connection reliability, resolution of images and video.[44]12 The two networks are discussed in more detail later in this sub-section. When acquiring a video conferencing system an organization needs to consider basically two main factors: the type of the system and the network over which the system will operate. To find out which system is the most suitable one, an organization has to make decisions about the following: - How many team members usually participate in a video conference on each side? - Is computer-displayed information sharing required during a video conference? - Are multi-point calls needed? - Will parties outside the company need to participate in the video conference? - Concerning the network, how much bandwidth is available for video conferencing? - What kind of and on which hierarchical level are video conferencing meetings held? Video conferencing systems can range from simple desktop applications to complex telepresence systems. Each system type suits different needs and application. Table 3.1 was published in their buyer’s guide by IVCi and summarizes characteristics of five different video conferencing systems. As the focus of this paper is on telepresence systems, only details about this kind of video conferencing system are explained in the following. In contrary to the categorization of IVCi where all five system types are considered to be video conferencing systems, Wainhouse Research clearly differentiates between video conferencing and telepresence systems. According to Wainhouse Research a telepresence system is defined as a solution that uses and audio conferencing components as well as other arts and sciences to create a two-way immersive communications experience that simulates an in-person, interactive encounter. Meaning that telepresence solutions, as another type of video conferencing system, unifies elements of traditional video conferencing systems to create a sitting across the same table experience. The overall reliability and quality of a video conferencing system is determined by the type of network deployed. With an unreliable network in place even a highly sophisticated system performs poorly. Network requirements can be explained by a comparison to sending an electronic mail. An e-mail that is sent from location A to location B can be broken up into several packets which can arrive in different order and at different times at the receiver’s inbox while using only little bandwidth on the network. For delivering the sent e-mail the single packets are buffered and re-assembled at the recipient’s inbox. In contrast, video conferencing is a real-time application that depends on a synchronous end-to-end connection. Video conferencing can use the same network as e-mail but it does not tolerate packet loss or delays in packet delivery. In general, two types of networks can be distinguished: an integrated services digital network (ISDN) and an internet protocol network (IP). Due to the fact that an ISDN network is a circuit switched network, it is comparable to a telephone line. Whenever an ISDN network is in use it is locked up for other applications. Although ISDN offers high quality services for video conferencing, it can get costly because besides a fixed fee per month per ISDN line, a per-minute usage charge has to be paid as well. Today the majority of purchased video conferencing systems include an IP interface together with a separate option of ISDN. Three different IP networks are in place nowadays. These are: - The public Internet. - A corporate data network (Intranet). - An Internet Protocol overlay network. There is a difference between placing a video conference over the public Internet to placing it over a corporate data network. For example, the route of a conference call that is conducted over the public Internet cannot be monitored and the bandwidth allocated to this call is unknown. The inconsistent performance makes constant reliable connections impossible.

Über den Autor

Rosi Maria Heller was born in 1978 in Rottweil, Germany. After her A-level in Germany, she spent a year abroad as an Au-Pair in Chicago, USA. The author studied International Business Administration with focus on Asia at the University of Applied Science in Furtwangen, Germany. Rosi gained business experiences at KPMG in New York, USA, at Marquardt Switches in Shanghai, China, Daimler-Chrysler in Ulm, Germany and Siemens AG in Munich, Germany and Beijing, China. She participated in a study abroad program of International Business Administration at Sydney University, Australia. Besides that she also studied at the Shih Chien University of Kaoshiung, Taiwan. Her Master of Business Administration degree she gained at the University of Applied Science Würzburg, Germany. Due to the fact that the author has worked and is still working for international companies, she got to know modern communication technology to make collaborative work over distances possible. Fascinated by that Rosi decided to write a book about telepresence.

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