Video communications distributor Imago has secured exclusive distribution rights for what it has claimed is the world’s first 3D telepresence solution and is looking for 20 resellers to train and sell the new product.
Developed jointly by Belgian company Teleportal and a US research firm, 3D TelePresence uses plasma screens and Sony PCDS-G50 codecs to project a 3D image of participants involved in a telepresence meeting.
Imago is the sole distributor of 3D TelePresence in the UK and France, and hopes to secure rights for other territories.
Ian Vickerage, managing director of Imago, told CRN: “Current telepresence solutions produce a flat image and don’t give true eye-to-eye contact. People want to look into the whites of someone’s eyes when they are talking to them, which is exactly what 3D TelePresence enables.”
With a price point that seriously undercuts that of rival telepresence vendors, Imago is hoping to make telepresence accessible to a wider market.
“We have three models – a 32in, a 42in, and a 50in – with prices ranging from £20,000 to £30,000. Competitor’s systems are six figures. Cisco’s telepresence system, for example, is £300,000-plus, so we felt there was a gap in the market. Hopefully our system will open up this technology to smaller businesses,” said Vickerage.
Vickerage claimed 20 resellers would be an ideal number to sell the systems in the UK and the systems will offer better prices to those that do all their own demonstrations and installations.
Andrew Smith, senior associate at audiovisual analyst Sandy Brown SM&W, said: “The Imago offering sets a price point in the market. There are many manufacturers that will be looking hard at the pricing of their s olutions following this announcement.”
Paul Gullet, Tandberg’s president of EMEA, told CRN: “A lot of screen manufacturers are starting to talk about 3D displays, but we are some way off from them being produced. What Imago has launched is not a 3D display. It is a gimmick and it is misleading to call it 3D.”
However, Richard McGuinness, business development manager at videoconferencing (VC) VAR First Connections, believes the Imago offering will help the market tremendously. “We have all been waiting for the quality of VC to come through and IP has helped, but now VC is as good as it needs to be.
“I’ve seen all the different telepresence solutions and feel that Imago’s offering will form its own niche in the market,” he added. “The telepresence solutions already out there are best for larger rooms with eight to 10 people in a meeting, but Imago’s offering is ideal for smaller groups. It would be ideal for interviews and appraisals. It certainly gives us another string to our bow.”
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