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Main article: "Videophone

Videoconferencing: 1968 to present[edit]


Webcams: 1991 to present[edit]

Typical low-cost webcam used with many personal computers

Telepresence: 1993 to present[edit]

A professional development expert in Denver uses telepresence to coach a teacher in Utah during the initial research of Project ThereNow.

The term telepresence was coined in a 1980 article by Minsky, who outlined his vision for an adapted version of the older concept of "teleoperation that focused on giving a remote participant a feeling of actually being present at a different location.[1]

The first commercially successful telepresence company, Teleport (which was later renamed TeleSuite), was founded in 1993 by David Allen and Herold Williams.[2] Before TeleSuite, they ran a resort business from which the original concept emerged, because they often found businesspeople would have to cut their stays short to participate in important meetings. Their idea was to develop a technology that would allow businesspeople to attend their meetings without leaving the resorts so that they could lengthen their hotel stays.

A "Tandberg E20 high resolution videoconferencing phone meant to replace conventional desktop phones

"Hilton Hotels had originally licensed to install them in their hotels throughout the United States and other countries, but use was low. The idea lost momentum, with Hilton eventually backing out. TeleSuite later began to focus less on the "hospitality industry and more on business-oriented telepresence systems. Shareholders eventually held enough stock to replace the company's original leadership, which ultimately led to its collapse.["citation needed] David Allen purchased all of the assets of TeleSuite and appointed Scott Allen as president [3] of the new company called Destiny Conferencing.

Destiny Conferencing licensed its patent portfolio to "HP which became the first large company to join the telepresence industry, soon followed by others such as "Cisco and "Polycom.[4] After forming a distribution agreement with Pleasanton-based Polycom, Destiny Conferencing sold on January 5, 2007 to "Polycom for $60 million.

An important research project in telepresence began in 1990. Located at the "University of Toronto, the Ontario Telepresence Project (OTP) was an interdisciplinary effort involving social sciences and engineering. Its final report stated that it "...was a three year, $4.8 million pre-competitive research project whose mandate was to design and field trial advanced "media space systems in a variety of workplaces in order to gain insights into key sociological and engineering issues. The OTP, which ended in December 1994, was part of the International Telepresence Project which linked Ontario researchers to their counterparts in four European nations. The Project’s major sponsor was the "Province of Ontario, through two of its Centres of Excellence—the Information Technology Research Centre (ITRC) and the Telecommunications Research Institute of Ontario (TRIO)." [5]

See also[edit]




  • Burns, R.W., Television: An International History of the Formative Years IEE Publication Series, Institution of Electrical Engineers, Science Museum (Great Britain), 1998, "ISBN 0-85296-914-7, "ISBN 978-0-85296-914-4
  • Mulbach, Lothar; Bocker, Martin; Prussog, Angela. "Telepresence in Videocommunications: A Study on Stereoscopy and Individual Eye Contact", Human Factors, June 1995, Vol.37, No.2, p. 290, "ISSN 0018-7208, Gale Document Number: GALE|A18253819. Accessed December 23, 2011 via General Science eCollection (subscription). This study in turn cites:
  • Norby, K. "A Window To The Future: The Videophone Experience In Norway", Kjeller, Norway: Norwegian Telecom Research Department, 1991, pp. 66-77.

Further reading[edit]

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