Telstra has joined forces with eight other carriers around the world to allow customers using their video-conferencing systems to connect to one another.
The Global Meeting Alliance of telcos across the globe consists of: Telstra; Safaricom in Africa; Etislad, Qtel and Mobily in the Middle East; Neotel in South Africa; and Sprint, Glowpoint and Telus in North America.
Tata Communications vice president of integrated business-video services Peter Quinland compared the alliance to global alliances in the airline industry. The alliance will allow members to access a global Telepresence network consisting of 40 public telepresence suites in 20 countries.
"Today, all alliance members are taking a major step towards making an open community for business video a reality," he said in a statement.
The service will support video systems from Cisco, Tandbery and Polycom, and bookings will be managed through a centralised scheduling system, with meetings initialised by a Global Meeting Alliance conference-production team. To reduce complexity, there are standard customer tools used across all systems with all operators, as well as a standard set of processes and guidelines for the operation of the system.
In Australia, Telstra has partnered with Cisco to deliver Telepresence systems for business and government since 2008.
"Telepresence and business-video services are becoming increasingly popular with Australian organisations, as they offer significant productivity and cost benefits while enabling more collaborative working practices," Philip Jones, executive director data IP network application and services with Telstra, said. "We expect this demand to rise substantially in 2012 and beyond. Telstra's customers expect simple, reliable and cost-effective services, and our participation in the Global Meeting Alliance will assist in meeting their expectations."