Monday, April 16, 2007

Telepresence, and Quality Communications in General

Now I think I'm beginning to see the difference between telepresence and the videoconferencing of today. It's quality, as this nice little piece from MSNBC explains. I absolutely love more people actively promoting the idea that people can work well without working in the same physical space. The key is the quality of the communication.

It seems like so many of the tools we use today are a bit primitive. You certainly can be highly effective using IM, phone and echo-laden videoconferencing tools, but you must have good communicators at both ends of the equation. If the person you're trying to communicate with can't type what she means, and can't say what she means, and can't diagram what she means, all the communication and shared workspace tools in the world aren't going to help you.

Actually I'm not sure that situation would be made much better by being physically present, either. But we all know people who are exasperating to IM with because they type soooooo sloooooowly. And people who will never call you on the phone, and rely on longwinded emails to get the message across. And people who only call you on the phone and harrangue you for forty five minutes on an issue that would have required a one-word email response: "Yes!"

Maybe sharp, easy to use, highly responsive telepresence really will change things.

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