As corporations become more spread out, and sometimes even global, telecommunications plays an ever large role. But even being tied in via video link to meetings doesn’t always give the full feel of a presence. That’s why iRobot and Cisco have teamed up to create the Ava 500 – a high definition screen and autonomous movement make the shift from what may seem more like a remote control toy with a phone for a face, to a more realistic presence.

The clear issue with teleconferencing is realized when we consider research on body language. Studies have claimed that over 90 percent of our communication as humans is non-verbal. This means that only a very small percentage of our conversation is adequately communicated by present telecommunication means. It can really put clients and others that we are meeting at greater ease when they’re dealing with more than just a pixelated face.

iRobot was already on track in creating a better presence for remote medical devices, but the problem was low definition video. That’s why they paired up with Cisco, one of the biggest names in telecommunications, with the aim of adding high definition video in order to create a much stronger presence.

The idea was to take teleconferencing out of the conference room. Not every deal is sealed at the table. Conversations that continue in the hall after the meeting are often some of the most important, especially for relationship building with clients and customers. The Ava 500 allows you to be a part of those post-meeting strolls.

The robot lies dormant throughout the facility until someone logs in – a nearby available machine then starts up and heads to the meeting room at the specified time. Sensors allow it to keep from bumping into people in the hall. If you have private mode initiated then no one will see a face until it enters the meeting, while in public mode you can interact in the halls just as if you were walking to the meeting yourself.

A simple-to-use tablet allows you to control the movements of the robot and simulate presence, including turning to face the person to whom you are speaking. You can even raise and lower the angle of the screen to direct your attention towards those who are in a seated or standing position. Cisco has also worked hard to provide a high level of security for the device.