What if I told you that you could visit three continents in one day without leaving your office and truly feel like you were there in person? That you could move down a hallway or across a stage, make eye contact and feel, well, more like a human being than just a face on a screen?
Earlier this year, Paul McDonagh-Smith — my coworker at MIT Sloan Executive Education who is based in London — did just that with the help of “telepresence robotics.” First thing in the morning, he co-presented at a conference in Singapore alongside our colleague Cyndi Chan, then had a business meeting in Cape Town, South Africa and later that afternoon met with me and other team members on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
If you haven’t encountered a telepresence robot before, they look surprisingly humble. There is some variety in appearance, but the basic elements are: a screen that functions as a “head,” a “leg” or a “neck” for turning the “head” and a set of gyroscopic wheels for traveling. The model we use is made by Double Robotics and is essentially an iPad on a leg with wheels. Though it may seem simple, the technology is quite remarkable in what it can do for bringing people together.
Read the full post at TechCrunch
Peter Hirst leads the team of professionals who partner with clients and faculty at the MIT Sloan School of Management to develop, design, and deliver innovative executive education programs for individuals and companies.