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Phil Woolas attends Australia environment conference - from London

July 24, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

Phil_Woolas.jpgBy Paul Eccleston

Environment Minister Phil Woolas made his presence felt at a conference in Australia - even though he stayed in London.

Mr Woolas was able to take part in a live debate on climate change through high performance telepresence technology.

A life-size high-definition image of the Minister appeared 10,500 miles away at the 2nd Annual Climate Change Summit in Sydney where he was able to make a keynote speech and answer questions in real-time.

The state-of-the-art technology has been designed to make it feel that the person is in the room rather than just an image on a video screen.

The Easynet's Managed Virtual Meeting telepresence system saved Mr Woolas a round the world trip - about 60 hours of travel time - as well as 6.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions on his air flight alone.

David Rowe, Easynet's CEO, said: "The time has come for businesses to take responsibility and change the way they work: there is now a real alternative to hopping on a plane thousands of miles away for a meeting. "

A company spokesman said: "The MVM system is similar to the sort of thing you see in '24'. Images are life size and everything has been designed to make it feel as much as possible that you're actually sitting across a board room table from your fellow meeting attendees, rather than on a video screen.

"The attention to detail to achieve this end goes as far as the design of the room, quality of sound equipment, position of the mic, even the decor.

"The system is high-def so it is possible to see the tiniest level of detail on the screen."


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