Fueled by cutbacks in corporate travel, videoconferencing and telepresence continues to defy the economic downturn, with apparent progress in several areas.
A release today from high-definition videoconferencing company LifeSize Communications showcased a customer, Medisave, which has used its LifeSize Express systems in its U.K. and U.S. offices to cut travel expenses. The product-based medical services company also uses the platform for training and customer service.
"Many meetings will center on a specific product or a certain manufacturer’s line of products," Medisave Founder and Managing Partner Graham Wright said in a statement. "Being able to have multiple teams view the same product at the same time, in rich high definition, has been an added value."
Hotels have gotten into this business, as well. Marriott International announced that it will offer telepresence services in its hotels, using the Cisco-powered AT&T TelePresence solution. Meanwhile, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Tata Communications also have partnered to roll out Cisco TelePresence rooms worldwide. (For more, click here).
An inter-carrier demonstration between AT&T, Tata and BT, at the Cisco Live 2009 event in San Francisco in early July pushed the ball further. The goal was to exhibit cross-carrier service with high levels of security and reliability. (For the announcement, click here).
It was less a breakthrough in core technology, however, than in logistics, according to one expert.
"TelePresence requires a centralized call manager, a conference bridge and a reservation system in order for the system to work," wrote Cisco Fellow John Chapman in an e-mail. "That is tricky to get working in one company. It is logistically difficult to get this working across multiple enterprises. It is possible to do, but does require a well-engineered system."
Telepresence was a topic of discussion at this year’s Cable Show, with a paper co-authored by Cisco’s Chapman, Harsh Parandekar and Cox Communications’ Jeff Finklestein on how to provide this service over a DOCSIS platform.
In other quarters, Teliris announced at InfoComm 2009 in June that it had secured more than 130 orders in less than 30 days since announcing the general availability of its 6G platform.
One customer, British American Tobacco, was planning to double its current deployment and upgrade all existing systems. The new locations will be in more than 10 countries.
David Sampson, the company’s group mobility and virtual working manager, said in a statement that all targets had been exceeded, adding that the technology could help the firm realize its goals to reduce its carbon footprint.