Executives often spend much of the year flying around the world to attend meetings. Their health, family life and work-life balance suffer, while they struggle to make their time productive in hotel rooms and VIP lounges. At the same time, the company spends a small fortune on airline tickets, hotel rooms, transfers and daily allowances. Time and money could be better spent by using Cisco's TelePresence system. TelePresence, distributed globally through Tata Communications with public rooms in 44 countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, is available for public use at Compass Offices' Central Building business centre. Called 'collaborative' or 'immersive' communication, the system can bring in as many as four locations for an international meeting, creating the feeling of a lifelike situation. Three cameras alternately show the high-resolution, life-size picture of the person speaking, whether several people participate from the same two offices or four different offices. Three screens next to each other show the speaker and other participants. With a built-in soft light behind the screens, the system provides advantageous lighting. The high-definition video, CD-quality audio and immersive environment provided make it easy to focus on the meeting. 'We find meetings are more productive over TelePresence than other methods like conference calls. Participants can't hide if they are not paying attention or don't understand something, so we all communicate much more effectively,' says Cassie Standen, systems and marketing manager of Compass Offices. Presentation sharing and high-definition document cameras contribute to the feeling of a real face-to-face encounter and minimise problems and misunderstandings. 'The system is immersive and face-to-face. It's so different from video conferencing - the quality makes it feel like you're actually there,' Standen says. 'We use TelePresence ourselves at Compass Offices to do team building and induction between the teams in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.' Companies get a rare chance to try out the collaborative communication tool with a 30 per cent discount for meetings within the same region booked before the end of August, and used before the end of September. The Asia-Pacific network includes Tokyo, Sydney and cities in India. Free demonstrations are available through Compass Offices or online. You can book the Compass Offices venue at Central Building through the website http://tatatelepresence.com , or call the Compass Offices team directly. For an emergency meeting, you can book late at night and turn up in the morning.