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Prysm Eyes Telepresence as Next Application for Video Walls

August 7, 2013 | Telepresence Options

video wall prysm

Story by Wade Roush / Xconomy

One sign that your company has arrived is that you can afford telepresence suites from Cisco or Polycom--you know, those rooms equipped with a trio of 1080p flat-panel displays and special cameras, microphones, and lighting so that chief executives in New York can see tiny droplets of sweat on the faces of vice presidents in Los Angeles.

The cost of building and running these rooms can easily run into the millions of dollars. They may take the place of private jets, but they're not much cheaper.

Now�Prysm, a San Jose, CA- and Concord, MA-based display company I've beenfollowingsince 2010, is offering an alternative that could put big-screen, two-way video collaboration within the reach of many more organizations. An existing conference room can be equipped with a five-by-fifteen-foot Prysm display wall for about $250,000, executives at the company say.

"Those big, dedicated telepresence rooms--that market still exists but it's on a downward trend," Tim Messegee, Prysm's vice president of marketing, told me as we sat yesterday in Prysm's own board room, which has a 117-inch video wall at one end. "What customers are asking for are spaces that are much more versatile. In here, you can have a staff meeting. The CEO can have a board meeting. Engineers can meet across three or four sites. You can do telepresence and share content on the same screen."

Prysm is an eight-year-old startup built around an unusual device called a laser phosphor display, or LPD. To commercialize the machines, which combine technologies from Blu-ray players, laser printers, and classic cathode ray tubes, the company has hired 190 people and raised $148 million in venture backing from Artiman Ventures and Partech International. But to achieve high growth, it needs to find a market that's bigger than the first one it pursued: large display walls for public environments such as retail stores and corporate lobbies.

For the lobby of IAC's Manhattan skyscraper, Prysm built a display that's 10 feet high and 120 feet long; it functions mainly as a canvas for environmental art. General Electric installed 58-foot wall, in a semicircular configuration, at its�Grid IQ Research & Collaboration Centre�in Toronto.

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