The Gadgets Page

January 14, 2015

CES 2015: Beam Pro Telepresence

Filed under: Cars & Transportation — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Beam Pro had a booth at CES this year and I came face to face with the idea of telepresence. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, watch this video clip from the television show, Big Bang Theory.

Beam Pro is a professional version of this kind of device. It is marketed to companies for meeting attendance and remote presentations. And it has a MAJOR flaw.

You can’t look the person in the eye.

You can barely see what I mean in this video.

She does a very good job of looking into the camera for most of this video, but a couple of times, you do see her glance down at the screen. Only professionals would do a good job with a telepresence. Most of the people I saw at CES 2015 who were interacting with people were staring at their screen the entire time. It appeared that they were looking downward, like they were ashamed.

When I was talking to the telepresence, I did the same. I looked at the screen, which is lower than the camera. It took an incredible effort to look at the camera because I wanted to see the person’s face. What they need to do to fix this is somehow mount the camera behind the screen.

We WANT to look at peoples’ faces. That’s why we both were looking at the screen instead of the camera. The camera needs to be in a different place for this to work.

Oh, and any telepresence that can be knocked over by a careless intern is no better than a laptop computer carried around by said intern. In fact, if you had an intern carry around a laptop using FaceTime or any other teleconferencing software, it would actually be BETTER and cheaper than a Beam Pro.

Except MegaBeam. Nothing beats MegaBeam.

They had a HUGE version of this telepresence product rolling around their show floor called, MegaBeam. Here is a picture of me interacting with it.

CES 2015 Beam Pro Telepresence from The Gadgets Page

It was so large and intimidating that it really made me feel happy and chosen when it interacted with me. This is how it looked from my point of view.

CES 2015 Beam Pro Telepresence from The Gadgets Page

Something large like MegaBeam sets off the guttural instincts and causes one to genuflect, even if it is manned by a nerdy guy with glasses. He asked nicely if I would take a picture of him and post it with a MegaBeam hashtag and I complied without a second thought. The sheer size of MegaBeam ensured my compliance.

And he didn’t even need to say, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

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