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Bob Gourley

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Kubi: Adding Life to Teleconferencing


Dan Cybulski, CTO of Cognitio, appears on Katie Kennedy's Kubi device.

Traditional video conferencing can be frustrating. In this virtual environment, not having the ability to see whom you are conversing with can be a great disadvantage. Speaking directly to each person in the group, like you are physically present, can be the presence needed to lead or be a part of an impactful meeting. There is a robot called “Kubi” that can transform an iPad into a remotely moveable telecollaboration systems, making teleconferences more personal. With a few clicks of a mouse or keyboard, the robot pivots and interacts with those with whom you want to interact.

Kubi allows for virtual conversations to be more participatory. Kubi easily connects via your existing infrastructure or the Internet. And software downloaded from the app store makes it very easy for participants to use.  The model we used does not roam around, we did not need that feature to gain the benefits of this powerful solution. We found its ability to move at the neck was all we needed. We just needed to plop the robot in any room and leave it there to be used.  side+moves

A few things to highlight with Kubi:

  • Any video conference application can be used with Kubi
  • The video is secured through Tokbox
  • You have the ability to completely customize how people experience Kubi
  • Controls: click to center, sliders and arrow keys to navigate; even the ability to mark the position of each participant and simply click to turn towards them

Kubi is essentially Skype with a neck. It creates the experience of in-person meetings. Kubi is relatively new and rapidly improving and changing, moving towards the easiest and best user experience. Something that (personally) frustrates me about this product is the charging. I would like to see one  charging/power adapter to charge both the iPad and Kubi devices. Instead, you need to have the Apple charger charge the iPad and have the Kubi charger charge Kubi. What if my Apple cable cannot reach the iPad and my device is dying? Or if Kubi pivots so much that the cord gets wrapped and pulls the device off the table? This is more of a nuisance than a deal-breaker, but I wanted to highlight it in the posting.

If two people want to use the Kubi, or if you have two meetings that could potentially overlap, there is no clean way to transition or hold the calls. The Kubi team is looking for ways to improve their robot, such as improving the video overlap, sound tracking, head motion tracking, using eye movement to move Kubi, and much more. As Kubi technology advances, Kubi will be the robot to have in teleconference meetings.

Find out more information here.

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com