Thursday, November 1, 2007


The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
-George Bernard Shaw

CISCO has announced a revolutionary technology that reminds us of the catch phrase from the famous Star Wars: Beam me up Scotty. This truly awesome and stunning technology allows a person to feel as if the person he is talking to is present, on the location (through high definition video projection systems). Thus, this technology creates the ultimate where probably Mr. John Mack in USA and myself here in India can see each other and talk. It is another dimension of communication. So it will not be a surprise if we will be able to download telepresence podcasts from Mr. John Mack’s Pharma Marketing Forum on various Pharma issues, say two years hence. An example of such a telepresence podcast would probably be a conversation between Mr. Mack and say Mr. Kindler the CEO of Pfizer on how telepresence technology is redefining marketing communication in the Pharma industry! And if it is a real time telepresence podcast may be Mr. John will be kind enough to beam up other participants like me from India!


CISCO the inventors of this technology introduce the ‘meeting technology – telepresence’ as follows:

Focus on Your Meeting, Not on Your Technology
Cisco TelePresence is an innovative, new technology that creates unique, in-person experiences between people, places, and events in their work and personal lives—over the network. The first application is the Cisco TelePresence Meeting solution. Cisco TelePresence delivers - Greater productivity, Faster decision making and improved time to market, Improved responsiveness, Improved communication and collaboration with co-workers, partners, and customers
As we observe, this is a networking technological innovation. There is more on the same here:

What Is Cisco TelePresence?
Cisco TelePresence is a new technology that combines rich audio, high-definition video, and interactive elements to deliver a unique in-person experience—over the network.

The Cisco TelePresence Meeting creates a live, face-to-face meeting experience over the network, empowering users to interact and collaborate like never before.

We live in a world of paradox. Technology has allowed us to establish economically advantageous business operations worldwide. However, to excel in today's fast-moving business environment, you now have to interact and collaborate with co-workers, partners, and customers all over the world at a moment's notice. You need to continuously innovate and transform your business model to maintain competitive edge. And you need to plan ahead to respond rapidly to unexpected issues that impact business continuity.

At the same time, much of business is still done based on the quality of the relationships you have with those people with whom you interact most often.

To build and maintain these critical relationships, you often need to travel, which translates to lost time and reduced productivity, not to mention valuable time spent away from home and family.

Benefits of Telepresence
All of this points to the need for a technological solution that allows the same type of face-to-face business interactions, without the constant need for global travel. That's where the concept of Cisco TelePresence comes in
. It allows for real-time, face-to-face communication and collaboration over the network with colleagues, prospects, and partners, even if they're in opposite hemispheres. The potential scenarios:

C-Level: executive meetings
Human Resources: job interviews
Customer Service: troubleshooting of technically complex products and access to remote experts
Sales: presentations and demonstrations of products and services with product specialists
Design: collaboration between teams and involvement of experts as needed
Consulting: interaction between outside vendors and clients
Staff Meetings: regularly scheduled updates of projects between personnel at remote sites
Employees derive both personal and professional benefits using Cisco TelePresence. This drives greater productivity in several ways. Employees:

Spend less time out of the office
Increase the number of interactions they can have with co-workers, partners, and customers
Derive the maximum value out of each interaction through richer and more valuable communication
Extend and maintain key business relationships in between in-person visits
Simplifying the Concept

Despite their relatively low cost, there are a variety of reasons why traditional video systems sit dormant and dusty in conference rooms around the world, but chief among them is that the systems are not reliable, offer low quality, and are too difficult to schedule and use. Scheduling meetings using traditional technologies frequently requires a combination of e-mail, hard-copy, and verbal communications. Once scheduled, they are frequently hobbled by technical issues, either in initial setup, or during the meeting with difficulty in seeing or hearing.

Cisco TelePresence is a new category of collaborative application that offers several significant advantages:
Integration with enterprise groupware (for example, Microsoft Outlook) allows users to schedule TelePresence meetings in the same way they would send a calendar invitation

Instead of confusing remote-control keypads used with most television-based systems, users can initiate TelePresence meetings using a telephone keypad. After scheduling, the meeting information is pushed to the meeting room's phone display. Users simply select the meeting from the display to launch the call. Similarly, cameras are prepositioned for optimal coverage of the room, so participants do not need to adjust them during their meetings.

The network provides the same reliability as dial tone, making TelePresence a solution that users can depend on, even for external meetings.

Services in the network ensure high quality, security, and reliability for every meeting.

The result: meetings that start promptly, proceed smoothly, and aren't hampered by audio-visual difficulties, which is especially important for meeting participants who might be attending outside of traditional work hours. Because of improved visual communication, it's more likely that important issues—especially those of disagreement—are more efficiently discussed, with less opportunity for misinterpretation and confusion. Now, you can focus on the meeting instead of the technology.

Future Applications
The vision for Cisco TelePresence is to expand to provide "virtual experiences" in many environments, from business into the home, with applications that would not have otherwise been possible with traditional video technologies.
Companies are increasingly focused on the parts of their business that create a competitive advantage. Activities that do not fall into this core category will be handed off to partners and suppliers. As this trend continues, collaboration increases in importance. Thus, ensuring that communication is clear and straightforward becomes more crucial. This is where Cisco TelePresence can help provide organizations an immediate productivity gain, change their business processes, and create sustainable competitive advantage

Potential of telepresence in Pharma marketing

The most obvious application is ‘calling on doctors’ through telepresence of MRs. This technology can help a MR promote products to a group of doctors in another location or if the portability of the telepresence system develops in time to come, nursing homes and clinics can have these devices and at mutual convenience, the MR can make a telepresence call to highlight the product (possible to many doctors at different locations at the same time).

In fact, another dimension is creating a digital avatar (so the telepresence form of MR will be uniform and unique contributing to branding); this avatar will be beamed to make Pharma product presentations to the doctor(s) at a seminar or in the clinic.
Telepresence based CMEs and new product launches with opinion builder doctors interacting is another dimension. This will allow real case history viewing too as part of the live CME.

Potential of telepresence in healthcare

Telepresence technology has the promise to revolutionize diagnosis and healthcare delivery through telemedicine. It would be possible to beam up the patient’s image for telepresence consulting to specialists located elsewhere. This will be Godsend for patients in the interiors of India who can avail second opinions and consultations from city based specialists.

Pharma companies can catalyze adoption of products by having telepresence kiosks in Pharmacies. The telepresence avatars or special patient educators can beam up to these kiosks and educate patients and customers (for eg., use of inhalers in asthma management).

Time for CISCO to collaborate on the telepresence technology platform

CISCO would reward itself and enhance adoption of the telepresence technology in various spheres of human activity by collaborating with specialists in each field, who can act as consultants and ambassadors for visualizing the application of this technology and catalyzing its diffusion. For eg., tourism experts would help in setting up such telepresence centres in business centres of hotels and thus help in creating telepresence meetings.

In the sphere of healthcare, CISCO experts and others from institutions like Narayana Hrudayalaya, Apollo, Fortis , Wockhardt, etc can start collaborating with primary health centres of the Indian Govt., to offer telepresence based healthcare diagnosis and treatment solutions.

The more that CISCO does to involve the public and other domain experts in providing inputs for this technology and collaboratively develop the product further for various applications, the faster will this product grow. In the end, CISCO will end up creating an ecosystem for communication and collaboration akin to Google on the internet. And later, this ecosystem can be tapped for advertisement revenues too. There is more to this product than being a meeting solution, it can revolutionize marketing, particularly Pharma and healthcare marketing, communication, diagnosis and treatment, and redefine healthcare delivery.


Here is a limerick:


CISCO has an innovation
For use in many a permutation
A mega revolution is in the making
Ignore not, Digital Health is there for the taking
Welcome one and all, to telepresence collaboration

This is my 54th blogpost, please do read all other blogposts, by clicking on older posts, wherever necessary, they are worth it!! Thnks - Sunil S Chiplunkar

1 comment:

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