Virtual presence is way of making people virtually visible online. It allows you not only to see who is online, but what their current status is (online, away from desk, coffee break, typing a reply, etc) and any other information that they may choose to publish (eg the ticker groups they are listening to).
Virtual presence complements tickertape by allowing you to see who is participating in the same groups as you and whether they are likely to see messages at the current time. A number of ticker clients currently provide integrated support for virtual presence, including Sticker, aquatik and eTiks.
Example Virtual Presence Display
Everyone in virtual presence space belongs to one or more presence groups and everyone automatically "sees" anyone else who is also in one of their groups. Some clients also allow you to specify particular people ("buddies") who you see regardless of what groups they choose. The people you see online are usually displayed in a list, from where you can access other information about them (eg ticker groups, custom properties such as phone numbers, etc).