Tools & Technologies

BuffaloPacific’s Omni-Solution Series adds that human dimension by offering a telepresence that mimics face-to-face personal communications.

By Maj. Christina Rusnock

Technology helps add that personal touch

The "branch" is a staple of the retail and financial world. It is that go-to, convenient location where customers connect face to face with salespeople and company experts. Branches offer customers a satisfying connection to the company and its products and services.

But staffing can be expensive – especially when customer demand is uneven or when a few key experts are needed in multiple locations. Companies are increasingly turning to automated solutions to solve these problems. This pivot to automation is well-established in banking, where live tellers have been (at least partially) replaced with automated teller machines. However, automated services diminish the "personal touch" advantage provided by branch locations.

BuffaloPacific's Omni-Solution Series is specifically designed to leverage the face-to-face personal connections provided at traditional branches while minimizing the space and on-site personnel requirements. The Omni-Solution Series provides companies with a 3-D telepresence system, enabling employees to service multiple branch locations remotely from a single location. Telepresence systems eliminate the costs and time of travel, reduce the space required in branch locations and minimize overstaffing due to erratic customer utilization.

Unlike traditional videoconferencing, the Omni-Solution Series provides customers with an engaging interaction due to the high-quality telepresence that is three dimensional and life-sized. Most significantly, the 3-D telepresence image supports full eye-contact communication, enabling the company representative to make eye contact clearly with a particular customer, even shifting eye contact between individuals when multiple customers are present. This lifelike interaction helps employees create the same personal connections as face-to-face communications.

The Omni-Solution Series features a number of transmitting and receiving options. The Omni-Bridge transmission units provide a "broadcast studio" with a 40-inch LCD screen for viewing the customer, plus the required backdrops, lighting and acoustical support to enable the receiving units to experience lifelike 3-D images.

The Omni-Station is a portable, desktop version of the Omni-Bridge, featuring a 24-inch LCD screen, lighting and movable backdrop screen.

For the receiving end, the Omni- Suite, Omni-Desk and Omni-Kiosk offer a range of solutions to meet various needs. The Omni-Suite features a standalone unit with a 55-inch LCD screen and theater quality sound. The Omni- Desk with its 40-inch LCD screen is a small footprint desk designed for sitdown interactions in tighter spaces and high traffic areas. The Omni-Kiosk also features a 40-inch LCD screen for tighter spaces and high traffic areas, but it is designed for stand-up interactions.

The Omni-Solution Series fulfills the need to provide relationship-based customer interactions to many industries. For financial and consulting services, the Omni-Solution Series enables company experts located in call centers or headquarters locations to connect to customers at geographically separated branches.

Similarly, this branch transformation also can revolutionize healthcare by enabling doctors to connect virtually to patients, and in education by allowing professors to teach virtually at satellite campuses.

Maj. Christina Rusnock, a member of IISE's Young Professionals group, is a deputy department head at the Department of Systems Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology.