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DVE Launches Revolutionary Immersion Room - Telepresence and Visualization
March 1, 2010 | Howard Lichtman
The DVE Immersion Room - life-size seamless telepresence and visualization
Digital Video Enterprises (DVE) officially announced the launch of their next generation telepresence and visualization environment known as the DVE Immersion Room. The room is both a 4 or 9 seat telepresence conferencing environment where participants face a seamless 120 inch screen that hides the camera at eye-level and a high definition visualization environment where volumetric images appear to float in 3D. The room recently won Frost & Sullivan 2009 Global Conferencing Telepresence Product of The Year Award.
The immersion room uses a Christie Digital HD8K projector pumping out 8000 lumens of HD video onto a stretched polymer beam splitter. The camera is hidden behind the screen at eye-level so that participants have the closest experience possible to true eye-contact in a telepresence environment.
The 120 inch seamless screen doubles as a data visualization environment (or the ultimate home theater). For corporate presentations the screen is capable on integrating content from CAD/CAM, Power Point, medical informatics, and/or video and displaying up to 9 foot volumetric images across the screen. While the images are technically 2D, because they float in thin air with shading, reflection, and movement they appear 3-D. The Christie HD8K projector is capable of 120 fields per second which is enough horsepower to do true 3D with LCD shutter glasses so you could even screen Avatar for your friends.
The Immersion room is an open platform for cameras and codecs from various manufacturers and can be integrated easily into a company's existing telepresence and/or videoconferencing environment. Because of the high cost of the system, north of $750,000 depending on how you want your room tricked out, DVE's founders envision the systems going in key corporate facilities which would benefit from the visualization capabilities. The Immersion Room is designed to communicate seamlessly with the Huddle Room 70, the much more cost-effective work horse of DVE's telepresence line. The Huddle 70 also has a beam splitter hiding a camera at eye-level and also accepts camera and codecs from all the major videoconferencing vendors at a sub-$50K price point. Read my review of the DVE Huddle Room 70 Here. Read the DVE Press Release on the Immersion Room Here.
The bezel-less DVE Huddle Room 70 with a hidden camera and true eye-contact.
Telepresence Options' Publisher Howard Lichtman's Thoughts and Analysis
I first saw the beta version of the DVE Immersion Room at the Telepresence World conference that we helped organize in 2007. Even though DVE was located in another building about as far away from the main conference that you could get, once word of the immersion room got out to the attendees for the next two days there was a steady stream of people walking across the USD campus to check it out (Once they signed DVE's NDA just to get past the front door). I sat in on a demonstration with the CEO of one of the Big 3 videoconferencing companies and the Chairman of one of the telepresence industry's leading hardware and managed service providers and both commented that it was the best video experience that they had ever seen. Paul Waadevig from Frost and Sullivan said that the Immersion Room "clearly has set a new standard for the potential realism of telepresence communication,". I will echo these sentiments and say that, bar none, the DVE Immersion Room is the most natural, comfortable, realistic telepresence experience anywhere. It is the Lamborghini Murcielago of telepresence. The experience is, quite literally, jaw dropping.
What I Like:
Seamless 120 inch Display - Long time readers of Telepresence Options know my desire that telepresence break free from the tyranny of the three-screen flat panel displays. The goal of telepresence is to replicate an in-person meeting as faithfully as possible and the brain registers visible cameras and visible displays as artificiality. The Immersion Room's seamless panoramic display addresses essentially the entire aspect ratio of the human eye creating a deep sense of immersion.
Say Bye-Bye to the Box!
Hidden Eye-Level Camera - The importance of eye-contact in inter-personal communications can't be emphasized enough. If you doubt this then try talking to a friend or colleague and avert your gaze less than 5% and watch how fast it becomes uncomfortable for the other party. Hiding the camera reduces "The Documentarian's Curse" I.E. the tendency for people to behave differently when there is a visible camera pointed at them.
Open Platform for Any Camera/Codec Capable of 16:9 - Already a BrightCom/Cisco/HaiVision/LifeSize/Magor/Sony/TANDBERG/Telanetix/Teliris/Vidyo shop? No problem! If they can do 16:9 then you can integrate an Immersion Room into your environment without a forklift upgrade and manage it using the same management suite you are using today.
Visualization Platform - The ability to share up to 9 ft volumetric images that float in mid air next to life-size presenters who run the show off their notebook... Put one of these babies in your executive briefing center and your guests will be talking about what they saw at your company for months. Corporate Shock & Awe...
The DVE Immersion Room for Hollywood - Storyboarding & Editing (click 'n expand)
My Wish List:
Lower Price - The Lamborghini Murcielago of telepresence has a price tag greater than the Lamborghini Murcielago! The cost of an immersion room is steep. North of $750,000 per room which limits the wide spread adoption of the technology. To be fair to DVE this cost is equivalent to what you would expect to pay for a top end board room and less than what you might expect to pay for a visualization environment like a CAVE but the price tag is going to limit the potential distribution to the Fortune 5000 vs. a broader appeal if they could get the cost out.
Smaller Footprint - While they can squeeze it a little tighter the recommended amount of space for a four-seat immersion room is XX' 9" x XX' 1 x Xft ceilings. The recommended space for the nine-seat version is XX' 3" x XX' 1" x Xft ceilings. (Redacted by DVE at fact check under NDA... Let's just say it requires a little more space than a Huddle Room 70)
Better Multipoint - For this generation of the Immersion Room, additional sites are either: 1. displayed on the monitors in the back of the room visible on-screen OR 2. on a traditional continuous presence multi-point format across the 120 inch screen. DVE is a working on a version that would stitch together multiple images pixel by pixel for a more seamless version of telepresence multipoint but no word on GA release.
Congrats to Jeff and Steve at DVE for giving us a glimpse of the future of telepresence... today.
Meet the Creators of the Immersion Room - April 22nd in Reston, VA
You can meet Dr. Steve McNelley and Jeff Machtig, the two co-founders of DVE and the co-creators of the Immersion Room at the Inter-Company Telepresence and Videoconferencing Conference and Working Group in Reston, Virginia on April 22nd 2010.
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