Federal Govt rolls out TelePresence

Federal Govt rolls out TelePresence

Summary: The Federal Government announced today that it would spend $13.8 million to roll out Cisco's TelePresence videoconferencing system to 20 of its offices around the nation.


in brief The Federal Government announced today that it would spend $13.8 million to roll out Cisco's TelePresence videoconferencing system to 20 of its offices around the nation.

The network will span thousands of kilometres and reach across all Australian states and territories, helping the government reduce the cost of travel and lower its carbon emissions.

Telstra will be deploying the 20 units — 13 three-screen 3000s and seven single-screen 1000s — within Parliament House, seven Commonwealth Government offices, the offices of the Premiers as well as in the Chief Minister agencies in all the states and the territory. Data transfer will be done by Telstra's Next IP network.

Four are to be ready by June 2009, with the rest to be finished by the end of the year. When completed, the system is to be used for meetings such as the Council of Australian Governments.

Telstra and Cisco announced in November last year that they would be partnering to build TelePresence products for the Australian market.

Topics: Government, Cisco, Government AU, Networking, Telcos, Telstra

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • What a waste

    I have used Telepresence and after you get over the the initial effect, you start realising the annoying issues with it , the biggest being you have to look away from someone to look at them.

    When its all said and done it is not really any better or waosr than a normal video conference.
  • Telepresence Spenditure

    I have no problem with them spending this kind of money, if after one year, they show that they have spent less on flights and accomodation for public service employees.

    And the chances of them doing that, is zero.

    It's the same with them paying for "happy lessons" whilst the amount of money they spend on "stress leave" has not decreased at all.

    If it doesn't save money in the corresponding area, then it's not worth it.
  • TelePresence Expenditure

    In response to Telepresence Spenditure.... you don't always look to get a return on investment within a 12 month period - take it over 5 years instead. Further, you need to look at other benefits of the system, such as productivity and the environment.
  • Great investment

    TelePresence is excellent compared to traditional video conferencing - espeically when it involves senior executives. GIven that up to 70% of communication is through body language, it is important to make that experience as life like as possible to ensure that the message snr execs are effective. TelePresence is simple, reliable and you can ensure that it will work time and time again. Something not found in the traditional version of video conferencing. I use TelePresence on a daily basis and it has transformed the way that I do business.
  • How long have you worked for Cisco?

    Wow, what a great endorsement for Cisco's TelePresence product. Bringing to attention all of the features and glossing over all of the obvious faults.
    I would be really keen to know who you worked for given that you are using TelePresence on a daily basis and are finding it so amazingly effective.
  • Adobe Acrobat Connect would be way frigging cheaper!

    This is our money so spend it more wisely. Acrobat Connect would be a better investment!
  • Preferences

    I would personally prefer to roll out Polycom's video conferencing, It uses 1/10th the bandwidth for the same quality while also providing a VERY realistic suite.

    Then again I have been on Polycom and Cisco sales training, What would I know?
  • Sorry - bad assumption.

    Actually, I don't work for Cisco. I work for a carrier who has installed Cisco TelePresence along with other types of HD Video Conferencing.
    What obvious faults do you elude to?
  • Polycom TPX/RPX

    I agree that the Polycom RPX suite is awesome.

    However, it comes at a much higher cost compared to Cisco for a similar amount of people in the room - say the 408 model. This is even more when you add in their VNOC service over 3 years.

    In regards to your comment on bandwidth, that is actually incorrect. Polycom RPX is 720p vs Cisco 1080p (Polycom can't yet achieve the same quality as Cisco until they upgrade the HDX9004 codec to 1080p which is still 6 months off at least). If you want the best quality picture on Cisco it is 15.3Mbps (not including HFR codec) vs Polycom which is 20Mbps. Realistically, if you're going to install one of these babies, you're going to run it at the best quality possible. There isn't a deployment in Australia as yet that isn't running Cisco TP at 1080p Best.

    Bandwidth isn't a concern for this deployment as they already have the network in place.

    You are right though - sales vs technical sales... different things all together. :P
  • Money saved

    Do you really think it's that difficult to cut $15M of a $280M budget? Most large enterprises are doing that now, but as a percentage of their travel budget are doing a lot more than the Govt. The ROI for the Govt on this will be done easily.
  • Preferences

    Have you viewed Life Size at all.

    Very new to the market place and can achieve 1080p with as little as 5.1Mbps.
  • Lifesize

    I have seen LS. I know that there is one major enterprise in Australia that has taken them up as being their endpoint of choice. LS are still new to the market, albeit that their founders came from Polycom. Their system is pretty good, although I think they are lacking on the audio side. Give them another couple of years to become a major player and you will see some traction. The one I have most interest on at the moment is Vidyo. Their new SVC codec is pretty cool, to the point that Cisco are licensing it and building it into their technology.

    Cisco TelePresence can work with just 3Mbps for 1080p video and another 64K for audio. This doesn't include any content, or any overheads.
  • Not as good as it sounds

    Telepresence is good quality, but comes at a high cost to the taxpayer. There are cheaper alternatives and produce similar results. Telstra has these alternatives, but the Cisco option is way more expensive. HD Video Conf (not Cisco) is just like HD TV. The Cisco service will require dedicated bandwidth as they use at Telstra. It is bandwidth hungry and adds more most to the solution. Don't believe all you read!
  • TP vs VC

    Sure, there is a large expenditure as reported, however, if the Govt uses their system as much as Telstra and Cisco use theirs, this system will save the taxpayer money in a matter of months. Traditional VC (including HD) has seen utilisation of 1-5% compared to TP which has up to 70-80% utilisation (I'm in a position to know this for both Telstra and Cisco).
    TP doesn't require 'Dedicated' bandwidth. The implementation of QoS will ensure the call works - exactly the same as HD VC. The lower end systems (CTS500 and CTS1000) are cost comparative to HD VC systems from Polycom and Tandberg - in terms of TCO.
  • Seen and used may variants

    I have been involved in hundreds of face to face and video conferences over the years, my travel costs have declined by close to $50k each year thanks to using video conferencing around 6 - 8 a week compared to flights, parking, taxis & accommodation let alone the lost productivity. during 2-3 days out of town each week. My company has probably saved $1M-$1M per year in travel thanks to installing a couple of (non-Cisco) telepresence units as well as a large number of 2 screen units throughout the company. We even invite clients to our sites to avoid travel and allow them to use them when we do not have them booked. To say the government will not save money is a joke, as long as the change their internal culture us taxpayers will reap the rewards.