Cisco demos public rooms for TelePresence

A room could cost US$299 per hour

Tata Communications expects to open 100 additional public telepresence rooms by the end of 2009, said Peter Quinlan, senior director of managed TelePresence for Tata Communications. Tata will work with a variety of hotels and companies, not exclusively with Taj Hotels, on the theory that more public TelePresence rooms will increase the value of all the others, he said.

David Gibbons, general manager of Taj Boston, said he can foresee wedding parties using the videoconferencing room to reach out to distant relatives who could not attend, as well as by businesses that do not have their own TelePresence room. The specially-fitted room is a converted hotel room on the eight floor.

As the global economy continues to slow, Gibbons said the number of hotel visitors is expected to fall off, and the TelePresence room should help provide added revenue. While the hotel industry has expected to support videoconferencing for a decade, earlier technologies were not based on high definition and did not provide the quality of experience hotel employees and guests wanted.

Elfrink said the slower economy will be a "big boost, actually" to Cisco's TelePresence businesses. Meanwhile, Tata Communications Chief Operating Officer Vinod Kumar said that with the economic downturn, "we see the need for stepping up" the provisioning of more public TelePresence rooms. "We will step on the pedal," he said.

Quinlan said that a big plus of the public spaces is that businesses can try out the experience without the upfront cost of building a room, which can range from US$350,000 to $500,000, including audio-visual equipment and special furnishings and lighting. In addition, the rooms might cost US$5,000 per month for 15 Mbit/sec network connections in the U.S. and up to $25,000 per month in some Asian countries.

An added incentive for a first-time user is that the Cisco technology will interoperate with videoconferencing systems from five other vendors, making it possible to reach branch offices already equipped with rival gear. The only requirement is the third-party technology rely on the H323 standard, officials said.

Nora Freedman, an analyst at IDC who saw yesterday's demonstration, said a number of vendors are selling high-definition videoconferencing systems, but apparently none are doing so in hotel rooms that are publicly available. "This is the real, live, public suite," she said.

Polycom and Tandberg and other vendors offer room-sized systems based on high-definition technology and had provided older room-sized systems available for public use. But none were used because they were in poor locations and hard to schedule for use.

Hewlett-Packard provides a high-definition room-sized telepresence technology called Halo and has announced public rooms, but none have been opened, Freedman said.

To use one of the new public rooms equipped with Cisco technology, users must set up an account online and reserve a room using a Web portal, phone, e-mail or fax, Cisco officials said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags video telepresencecisco

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?