Cisco and HP telepresence offerings

Lots of conversations over the last 24 hours about telepresence. They were triggered by John Battelle’s review of HP’s Halo offering and Charlene Li’s review of Cisco’s TelePresence offering. Both are recommended reading and brought back memories of my first video conference session in the early nineties.

As an early beta tester I accompanied some colleagues to a dedicated facility in Tokyo and our counterparts did likewise in London. Within 3 minutes the novelty wore off and it became immediately apparent that something was amiss. It was a sense of shared presence. John is right to ponder if and when Kinko’s or a peer will take the risk and start rolling out rent by-the-hour offerings.

At circa $500k a room they represent a substantial capital investment and are currently only within reach of large organizations. Speaking with a friend in Pepsi (early adopters of the Halo offering) they are extremely effective and light years ahead of video conferencing. Looking forward to test driving both in the very near future. After doing so I shall share thoughts on both here.

Geek dinner in Paris

Last night I went along to a geek dinner organized by Brian Suda and friends in Paris to promote microformats. Brian, among many other things, is an expert in microformats and recently was technical reviewer for a book just launched on the topic.

Jeremy Keith and Andy Budd were also there to help with the dissemination of information. There were about twenty people present. Christophe Ducamp was master of ceremonies and tried to ensure that there was a flow of information from Brian, Andy and Jeremy.

At the start of the evening I had a most informative talk with Andy about microformats. Andy made no claim to be an “expert” but I was impressed and now have a deeper understanding of the topic. The evening commenced with Brian and Jeremy giving high level descriptions of microformats and the philosophy behind them.

After that we broke up into 3 groups with the focus being on microformats. However the conversation on our table was wide ranging with Christophe and Louis Montagne discussing the best way to organize an upcoming barcamp event for Paris. Overall a most enjoyable night. Ronan