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Art, Music and a Robot: Inspirational Quad Cities Program Brings Cancer Patients to the Figge Art Museum on a Beam named “Genie”

Art, Music and a Robot: Inspirational Quad Cities Program Brings Cancer Patients to the Figge Art Museum on a Beam named “Genie”

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New York Times Upfront Features How Beam Helps French High Schooler Attend Class

New York Times Upfront Features How Beam Helps French High Schooler Attend Class

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PLANNING YOUR ANNUAL CONFERENCE CALENDAR? PUT BEAM ON THE BOOKS

Planning Your Annual Conference Calendar? Put Beam on the Books

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3 UNEXPECTED WAYS TELEPRESENCE CAN IMPROVE THE WORKPLACE

3 Unexpected Ways Telepresence can Improve the Workplace

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This Thanksgiving, We’re Thankful To Bring Families Together

This Thanksgiving, We’re Thankful To Bring Families Together

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How This K-12 School Aced Its Collaboration Challenges With Beam

How This K-12 School Aced Its Collaboration Challenges With Beam

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Beam Brings High School Student to Class While She Fights Cancer

Beam Brings High School Student to Class While She Fights Cancer

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Home is Where the Smart Is: Technology That’s Innovating How We Live

Home is Where the Smart Is: Technology That’s Innovating How We Live

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9 Halloween Costume Ideas to Make Your Beam Boo-tiful

9 Halloween Costume Ideas to Make Your Beam Boo-tiful

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How Beam Helps an RV Manufacturer Drive More Sales

How Beam Helps an RV Manufacturer Drive More Sales

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Beam Changes How OAC Collaborates

BEAM CHANGES HOW OAC COLLABORATES

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Our Corporate Culture of Connection & Collaboration: A Day in the Life of Beam

Our Corporate Culture of Connection & Collaboration: A Day in the Life of Beam

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7 EASY WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BEAM AT HOME

7 Easy Ways to Make Your Beam at Home

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Keeping Families Together - With Beam, You Can Come Home to Mom Again

Keeping Families Together - With Beam, You Can Come Home to Mom Again

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Going Out With a Bang: We Salute “Shelbot” & 12 Years of The Big Bang Theory

Going Out With a Bang: We Salute “Shelbot” & 12 Years of The Big Bang Theory

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Beam Goes Back to School: 4 Academic Ways Telepresence Technology is Changing the Education Experience

Beam Goes Back to School: 4 Academic Ways Telepresence Technology is Changing the Education Experience

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Celebrating Labor Day & How Technology Shapes The Rising Remote Workforce

Celebrating Labor Day & How Technology Shapes The Rising Remote Workforce

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Can Online Learning Compete With Traditional Education?

Can Online Learning Compete With Traditional Education?

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Beam Celebrates Senior Citizens Day

Beam Celebrates Senior Citizens Day

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SunBeam: Highlights from Our Summer Vacation

SunBeam: Highlights from Our Summer Vacation

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“Undesigning Disability:” Creative Insights on Cultural Accessibility & Inclusion

“Undesigning Disability:” Creative Insights on Cultural Accessibility & Inclusion

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5 Ways to Care for Your Telepresence Robot

5 Ways to Care for Your Telepresence Robot

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5 WAYS BEAM ADDS THE WOW FACTOR TO YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

5 Ways Beam Adds the Wow Factor to Your Customer Experience

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UPDATE: Alice Wong Continues in Her Crusade for Disabled Americans

UPDATE: Alice Wong Continues in Her Crusade for Disabled Americans

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World Cup Update: Beam Plays for a Worldwide Team

World Cup Update: Beam Plays for a Worldwide Team

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5 Indispensable Office Tools to Help You Ace Your Productivity

5 Indispensable Office Tools to Help You Ace Your Productivity

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4 Times Beam Helped Kids Make Life-Changing Connections

4 Times Beam Helped Kids Make Life-Changing Connections

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How VMWare Connects Colleagues and Community Members Across the Globe

How VMWare Connects Colleagues and Community Members Across the Globe

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How Technology Makes Life More Accessible for Those With Disabilities

How Technology Makes Life More Accessible for Those With Disabilities

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We Won Two Telly Awards for Our BeamPro 2 video!

We Won Two Telly Awards for Our BeamPro 2 video!

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At OAC Services, Beam is Part of the Team

At OAC Services, Beam is Part of the Team

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CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS: THE LATEST IN EDTECH

Classroom Connections: The Latest in EdTech

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Aging in Place Was Top of Mind at ATA18

Aging in Place Was Top of Mind at ATA18

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Setting the Tone for Innovation: How STEM Leader Carnegie Learning Uses Beams

Setting the Tone for Innovation: How STEM Leader Carnegie Learning Uses Beams

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HOW ONE PHYSICIAN RUNS 4 OFFICES WITH TELEMEDICINE TECH

How One Physician Runs 4 Offices with Telemedicine Tech

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4 Secrets to Being an Effective Remote Leader

4 Secrets to Being an Effective Remote Leader

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The Future of Work Cares Less About Your Age Than Ever Before

The Future of Work Cares Less About Your Age Than Ever Before

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THE WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE

The Workplace of the Future is Already Here

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5 Unexpected Ways to Use Beams

5 Unexpected Ways to Use Beams

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A HEALTHY TURNOUT AT HIMSS 2018: OUR FAVORITE MOMENTS

A Healthy Turnout at HIMSS 2018: Our Favorite Moments

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YOUR BRAIN, YOUR CAREER, AND YOUR WORLD - OUR TOP SESSIONS AT SXSW

Your Brain, Your Career, and Your World - Our Top Sessions at SXSW

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The Latest IoT and AI Impacting Health Tech, Wearables

The Latest IoT and AI Impacting Health Tech, Wearables

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Four Unforgettable TED Talks Delivered on Beam  

Four Unforgettable TED Talks Delivered on Beam

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The Latest in Home and Workplace Health Tech

The Latest in Home and Workplace Health Tech

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Long Distance Love Gets a Boost From Beam

Long Distance Love Gets a Boost From Beam

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The Benefits of Being a “Cyborg”

The Benefits of Being a “Cyborg”

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CES 2018 in Pictures: A Successful Debut of the BeamPro 2!

CES 2018 in Pictures: A Successful Debut of the BeamPro 2!

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Now Making Its Debut at CES: The BeamPro 2

Now Making Its Debut at CES: The BeamPro 2

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All Aboard - Getting the Most of The Remote Work Trend

All Aboard - Getting the Most of The Remote Work Trend

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TOP TIPS FOR TACTFUL TELEPRESENCE USE IN TODAY’S WORKPLACE

Top Tips for Tactful Telepresence Use in Today’s Workplace

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How Video Game Visionary, Adventurer & Pioneer Richard Garriott Uses Beam

We recently sat down with Richard Garriott - video game creator, futurist, space traveler and the man who coined the term “avatar” - and came away with his insights on everything from digital entertainment to telepresence technology.

Below are the highlights of our conversation. Read on for more about how he sees technology impacting humans, teleporting, and even VR! *This interview has been condensed for clarity.

Q: What are your proudest moments as a digital pioneer – from the early days when you coded in BASIC to today with your newest online fantasy role-playing game, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues?

A: Early on I said that I wanted to create a more literary game that has a deeper sense of purpose, reflects to the player something more meaningful about the human experience, and that is actually customized to them. This was a pivotal moment in my career, where the use of the word “avatar,” which is now ubiquitous, comes from. And a little bit later, I developed the first game that was referred to as “Massively Multiplayer Online” -- or MMO -- Ultima Online.

Creating games with meaning that bring people together remain the hallmarks of everything I do, including Shroud of the Avatar.

Q: Beam is sort of a real-world avatar. How does that compare to your original thought as to what an avatar is?

A: “Avatar” gives agency to the human, not playing some alter ego. That’s why it stuck, and why everyone seems to have adopted it – even for telepresence use, or in movies or other kinds of things.

Q: How has using Beam affected your collaborative process for your video game company, Portalarium, and in general for everything you do?

A: I’m the CEO and Creative Director – and I’m remote. But I have to be in at my company headquarters in Austin, Texas full-time; I need to be in the hallways to hear the chatter, attend every meeting, and be in a place where every employee can walk over and have a conversation with me ad hoc without having to think about how to track me down. I am on my Beam for about eight hours a day, three weeks a month; then there’s usually one week a month where I’m not on it, because I’m in Austin, where the Beam sits. So what I do is participate just like any other employee for a full workday regardless of where I am physically in the world.

In general, we now live in this virtualized space, where people collaborate all the way across the globe. You can find the right match of talent and interest in pockets that exist in far-flung, places. And while email, webcam, and a few other things have helped stop the scattering of community and reduction of high quality interaction, telepresence like the Beam has made a fundamental shift in not only in preventing the disintegration that has been upon us for 100 years, but in reversing that trend.

Q: What is the most valuable aspect of telepresence technology to you?

A: The thing that’s most important about this form of collaboration is its persistent presence. The next best thing is video conferencing (e.g., Skype call, or a full-time, open two-way screen), but in those cases you go to those screens for a meeting. Yet the majority of important communications that happen in an office aren’t during scheduled meetings.

When I am on Beam, I am physically present, as any other employee is physically present. The quality is so high that if we look backwards in time just a few weeks, and we talk about this regular set of discourse or meetings we’ve had, no one – not just me, but anyone in my office – has a recollection of if I was in person or using Beam. It’s immaterial.

The cost of this technology is so low – the expense of one trip pays for one Beam. You can set up a Beam on every floor of your office, and quickly exit one and enter another, so your body’s presence can be plural.

Even though there are other [telepresence devices] besides Beam, nothing has come close to matching Beam. I’ve tried virtually every other option on the market and found them lacking when it comes to mobility, stability, and staying connected. Beam’s reliable connection, the fact that it’s not going to fall down, the speed and antenna – all have been great enhancements that have kept this experience strongly ahead of the experience I’ve had with all of the others.

Q: In the next five to ten years, what are some breakthroughs in technology that you’re excited to see – on the telepresence side especially, but also anything else you’re most jazzed about?

A: On telepresence side, one of the upgrades I’m excited about is speed. I am a devoted champion of velocity. That’s been the most recent powerful improvement for me and the lifestyle I live on my Beam.

VR has been on my radar for a long, long time; I’ve purchased every form of VR goggle possible, back to the Apple II days. I was excited when it was a tiny screen, although with terrible latency that made you sick almost immediately. But at least it showed you a view into another world, even though it was low resolution. It still feels five to ten years away because you still can’t really move around in a virtual world without feeling uncomfortable. And there needs to be more interesting content.

Q: If you could Beam anywhere, where would you go?

A: Under the assumption that speed of light wasn’t a difficulty, the new solar system they’ve discovered that has a handful of planets in the “Goldilocks Zone,” which have conditions where liquid water can exist, would for sure be the most interesting places for me to go.

Frankly I’m just as impressed now with my list of Beams that I can currently enter, which is growing globally. There’s something very powerful about the ability to say, “I have some friends that are at the XPrize out in California, and I just want to go say hi” – just like you’d go on a lunch break with someone in the next building or office. Whether it’s casual or for important business, this teleportation is allowing for a powerful networking capability.

Q: What are some other innovative and unexpected ways you use Beam?

A: We invite people from our community of players that have been supporting us to Beam in anytime for a visit at our offices. We find that the bond that we can build with our customers is dramatically enhanced with this technology.

Also, we’ve used Beam to give speeches and attend conferences where we couldn’t be there personally. That’s a really powerful use. The whole point is you’re doing it full-time, not just for meetings. That is the magic of why it works – because I’m physically present as I would be for any other workday. Plus, the network of Beams I now have as my virtual bodies all over the world – those are the most unexpected use cases I’m excited about.

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