In the corporate world, telepresence technology is proving an invaluable tool for allowing far-flung coworkers and business partners to engage in realistic face-to-face experience -- without requiring costly, time-consuming, eco-unfriendly long-distance travel.
Making meetings among colleagues and customers far more productive and efficient is but one of the purposes of telepresence. Organizations around the globe, representing a variety of industries, are finding plenty of ways to leverage the technology, be it for education, medicine, or HR.
Just what the doctor ordered
Advances in videoconferencing and telecommunications are proving a boon for members of the health industry -- as well as people who don't have easy access to medical care.
Take America Service Group, a provider of health care services for state and local governments throughout the United States. The company also has a subsidiary called Clinical e-Health Solutions, which focuses on the private sector. The organizations leverage telepresence gear from Polycom to connect patients with medical care from afar, a practice called telemedicine.
"On a national scale, we're seeing specialists gravitating toward larger cities, and this is causing a shortage of primary care providers in areas that, while not quite remote, are increasingly underserved in terms of health care," said Dr. Carl Keldie, chief medical officer for Clinical e-Health Solutions. "This has created an opportunity for us to apply the telemedicine expertise we've developed over the past 15 years for government clients, and make them available to commercial health care providers."