Telepresence - essential for everyday Australians.. an NBN killer app

"Imagine looking at someone who is the same size as you on  photographic quality screen, where you are so comfortable talking to them that you forget they are 800km away... that is Telepresence. And THAT is THE REASON to have optical fibre in every Australian home."
It's been almost a decade of talk about NBN super broadband and still the message is muddy and unclear. The NBN is NOT about Netflix. It is not about downloading movies fast. Mark my words, it IS EVERYTHING to do with Telepresence.

It about a form of video conferencing that is real life quality. Where you forget that the person you are talking to is not in the room.

It's about putting an HDTV at the end of your dining room table with an HD camera in suburban Sydney and having dinner with your brother and his wife in Brisbane where you talk over your food and laugh and share as if you were both at the same table.

No glitches. No hiccups. No fuzzies. It just works.

Commercial Telepresence is already in use
I'll never forget hearing an elderly gentleman in Tamworth (I think) who said "why would I want to get NBN? I don't download movies...".

Well my answer to that gentleman is "How about if you could sit with an old mate from Melbourne for two hours a week and show each other your model train sets... or have a nurse or doctor check your rash problem from town instead of going into town."

Now you are getting it.

In fact, if I had my way we would all get a phone that enables us to dial anyone we want to with a big green button that says video which we press and then have the other persons lifelike image come up on our HD TV.

NBN at $70 a month plus a 50" HDTV, an HD webcam and a simple videophone could change everything for Australians.

  • If everyone had Telepresence, asking the corner store for a specific brand of Peanut butter and showing it to them will be every day.
  • Parent-teacher conferences could be simple regular catchups.
  • Corporations will be forced to put real people, with faces we can see and understand on the receiving end of our customer help lines.
  • The days of personal service will return.
  • People can show the people that help them what the problem is...
Here's the catch: There is very little chance that wireless or copper broadband could ever deliver this stuff. And for it to work everyone needs to have the gear. I'm telling you, the day my parents get optical fibre and I do here in Byron Bay is the day we get Telepresence.

Some related facts:
  • In frustration, I looked into setting up my own optical fiber connection from Lismore. It would have cost $150,000 but would have taken away from my focus on rolling out Haventech.
  • I was quoted $40,000 per month to get 200mb broadband from Telstra in the Byron Industrial Park area. It made me so angry I looked seriously at setting up my own optical connection from 40km away.
  • In 2010 Janelle Saffin (a wonderful local MP at the time) very kindly setup for me to speak to the Minister responsible for rolling NBN out at the time. Unfortunately, he relegated the importance of Telepresence to being able to share your X-RAYS with your doctor or doing video editing...
    Telepresence is a completely different thing.
    It's real interaction with real people. It's about relationships and bonding and allowing people to connect in a country that is as big as the whole US but with the population of LA and San Diego.
What do you think?
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Thanks for letting me rant everybody :-)
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