Cisco expands its Telepresence

Global workplace solutions provider, The Regus Group, will implement Cisco's high-end video conferencing system TelePresence in 50 of its locations around the world.Regus, which has offices in 70 countries including Australia, is deploying the systems to offer a public TelePresence service.

Global workplace solutions provider, The Regus Group, will implement Cisco's high-end video conferencing system TelePresence in 50 of its locations around the world.

Regus, which has offices in 70 countries including Australia, is deploying the systems to offer a public TelePresence service. Clients can book a virtual meeting and link to other Regus TelePresence locations or external facilities at third party sites.

Cisco Australia and New Zealand managing director Ross Fowler said on Friday that he couldn't confirm if a TelePresence system would be implemented in Regus's local offices. Regus did not comment on an Australian implementation by the time of publication.

The Regus announcement came on top of the unveiling of a set of new technologies to extend the capabilities of Cisco's TelePresence solution. The enhancements included the ability to conduct virtual meetings in multiple locations at the same time, as well as the freedom to organise meetings with customers outside the corporate firewall.

Cisco's TelePresence Multipoint switch will enable businesses to connect up to 36 geographically distant sites together for one meeting. Another enhancement included an optional overhead camera to make it easier to collaborate on documents between sites.

Fowler believes the IT industry often tries to change the business process to suit the technology, and this involves compromise. The idea of the TelePresence meeting system is to replicate a face-to-face meeting as much as possible, he said.

Fowler admits Cisco hasn't sold any systems in Australia yet, despite Telstra being named as one of the first companies to evaluate TelePresence when it was launched last October. Cisco did not comment on the Telstra trial.

The market for videoconferencing solutions is growing, however. Global resources giant BHP Billiton has implemented Hewlett-Packard's alternative -- dubbed Halo Collaboration Studio -- in six of its offices, including Melbourne and Perth.

Cisco has installed a Telepresence system in its Sydney office, with another in Melbourne to be completed this month. The two Australian nodes are part of the 52 Cisco deployments around the world.

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