Meeting in virtual_BeamPROA few weeks ago, a colleague and I had the opportunity to test drive the Beam Pro from Suitable Technologies. It’s a robot that you can drive around using the arrow keys on your computer keyboard and interact with people – all from the comfort of your own home (or wherever your computer is). The technology is called “telepresence“, and it ROCKS!

After downloading the software and logging in, my colleague (who was on a Hangout with me at the time) and I found ourselves in a Beam Pro staring into an empty room in Lyon, France – and feeling a little intimidated to just go drive around (we were 15 minutes early for our meeting with Jérémie Koessler from Awabot).  Jérémie must have heard me and my colleague giggling because he soon came into the room to say hello.

The Beam Pro is easy enough to use (though I still ran into a chair – but that’s just me). It can be driven around simply by pressing the arrow keys on the keyboard or by dragging the mouse. The sound and video quality were great – and there’s even the possibility to share screens.

My colleague decided she wanted to try too (instead of just watching me through the Hangout). So while she was getting setup, Jérémie and I sat down for a “face to beam” conversation to talk more about what the Beam Pro can do. Museums are using it so more people can see the exhibits. Doctors are using it in remote areas where specialists are scarce. And of course, people are beaming into conferences they can’t physically attend. The possibilities are mind blowing.

It was awesome to be able to look out of a window in Lyon, France while sitting in my apartment in The Netherlands.

The exciting part is: Jérémie agreed to allow us to use the Beam Pro at the Spark The Change conference in London on July 3 and 4. I will be giving a presentation about remote teams doing great things – and my colleague will be beaming in to give the presentation with me in London, from her home in Connecticut! (I’ll take a moment to let that sink in) 🙂

Even more exciting, is that you have the opportunity to try it out too: Buy a ticket to virtually attend one of the talks at Spark the Change – or just take a 30-minute virtual tour with me!