Are remote presence mobile systems the future of reference?

June 14, 2013, 12:58 pm

It’s been a little too serious around this blog lately, so here is something fun to stimulate your lateral thinking.


A good friend of mine is at InfoComm13—a tradeshow I wish I were attending. He texted me this photo:

beamApparently this woman was in California and interacting with folks in Orlando. She could hear him standing/walking nearby and engaged him in conversation.

This is BEAM. It’s a mobile, WiFi powered, video-conferencing, remote presence system. The features are listed on the website, and it is an interesting concept. The fact that it has wheels and can move at 3 mph following someone around is different;  I have not seen this full package  before.

At first I thought—could this work as a reference tool? Could it push us beyond the desk as a new twist on roving reference? Or what about tours? What about meetings? Could students or faculty use it for their own meetings too?

Or how about this: imagine that you have potential students or recently accepted students visiting some type of orientation booth—everyone does the same old thing, but if you a BEAM that could grab some attention.

It’s a little bizarre I’ll grant you that, but for a “tech” school it could be one of those small things that really creates a powerful impression on users. I’m still processing this idea  but wanted to share. Something a little fun for a summer Friday.

Note: The Beam link seems to be having trouble. Here it is in long form:

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