Telepresence is, broadly speaking, next-generation
videoconferencing that also takes into account a
user’s position, actions and voice to render as close
as possible a representation of a real life meeting.
Many products exist today that, although based on
established protocols including ITU–T H.323, lack
interoperability because of proprietary extensions.
Telepresence represents an important evolution of
the videoconferencing market. Standards providing
interoperability between systems are seen as a key
way to drive the market. The trend is expected to accelerate,
as mainstream video applications begin to
offer telepresence features.
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication
Standardization Bureau, commented: “We
don’t expect each end of a phone call to be dependent
on the manufacturer of the phone being the
same. The same should be true for telepresence. Anyone
who has used a telepresence system will testify
to its remarkable quality, it truly is the next best thing
to a face-to-face meeting. However, proprietary solutions
have stifled the market. ITU’s standards initiative
will allow us all to profit from this remarkable
Specifically, the new work will focus on standardizing
full interoperability between telepresence systems,
including facilitating the coherent presentation
of multiple audio and video streams so that participants
show correct eye contact and gestures, to give
a more real life-like experience.