HP, Tandberg team for soup-to-nuts telepresence

Partnership provides full line of equipment, plus installation and monitoring.

HP and Tandberg are uniting to provide a single source for telepresence gear as well as installation and monitoring.

Through the arrangement, HP will sell all of Tandberg's telepresence products even though they overlap some with HP's Halo telepresence line. And HP will extend its Halo Video Collaboration Service so it applies to Tandberg's telepresence products.

The partnership is the first full example of Tandberg's recently announced Total Telepresence offering that includes equipment, installation, network and ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Tandberg has no service arm of its own, so is teaming with others. Tandberg says it plans to announce other providers who will offer services in support of its products.

HP has a reputation for strong managed services and Tandberg has a good reputation for strong telepresence gear, so their partnership should provide a sound package, says Paul Waadevig, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan.

Alternatives for comprehensive product/services packages include buying from a single vendor such as Cisco or Polycom. He says Cisco has the capability of integrating its telepresence products with its unified communications gear and that Polycom may have a better solution than HP/Tandberg for businesses that are getting into telepresence for the first time.

The arrangement gives HP more full-room telepresence options to sell to customers, Waadevig says. HP's Halo telepresence gear requires a customized room that can be used for little else, he says.

Tandberg's T-3 telepresence system is a free-standing unit that can be placed in a room with little modification to the room. It includes screens, cameras, microphones, desks and touchscreens for collaboration and controlling the system.

The T-3 also can become a component in a room dedicated to and built for telepresence, and including studio lighting and back-lit wall panels will give a common appearance to all sites and to sharpen the image to create a more life-like atmosphere.

The HP Halo services include a dedicated network with guaranteed characteristics tuned to handle the latency and jitter demands of videoconferencing. The services also include monitoring, security and support of users to schedule conferences and to give technical help during conferences.

The services cost between US$1,000 and $12,000 per month per endpoint, depending on the network costs for a particular region.

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Tim Greene

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