The pervasive theme at InfoComm for Cisco was all about collaboration. The company actually demonstrated a partnership with Prysm on a telepresence solution, but one of the cooler new things at InfoComm had to be their iRobot solution. Dubbed the Ava 500, Cisco and iRobot signed a joint marketing agreement to get the portable telepresence solution to market. And, that’s basically what it is: a portable robot (on wheels integrated with a flat-panel display) that incorporates Cisco’s EX60 Telepresence personal video software system designed such that someone can “drive” it from anywhere in the world and be “virtually” at a meeting with an actual “presence” in the room (the iRobot itself).
For those of you thinking Skype or a dance webcam, you’re wrong. This thing is literally a robot that’s fully integrated as a VTC or telepresence solution that truly allows someone to have a physical presence in a meeting room, next to a patient in a hospital or even walking/strolling side by side in a one-on-one discussion. Webcams and Skype are designed fro ad-hoc style video sessions, but the iRobot is truly am immersion experience.