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Cisco supports Oz World Cup bid

Cisco has inked a deal with Football Federation Australia (FFA) that will see its TelePresence and collaboration technology being used to help bring the soccer World Cup down under in 2018 or 2022.
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Written by Munir Kotadia on

Cisco has inked a deal with Football Federation Australia (FFA) that will see its TelePresence and collaboration technology being used to help bring the soccer World Cup down under in 2018 or 2022.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley

FFA CEO Ben Buckley (Credit: Munir Kotadia/ZDNet Australia)

Should Australia be awarded the World Cup, fans from around the world will be able to interact with each other using TelePresence on wall-sized screens, according to Les Williamson, Cisco ANZ VP, who took part in a live video conference with media this morning.

"We are building [telepresence] capability in wall environments, so you can imagine a five- to seven-metre wall that you literally walk up to and you are basically telepresenced [sic] to another location.

"We have been doing some trials for city-to-city capabilities. So you can imagine Melbourne, in Federation Square, having a wall-type environment that can have a link back to Vancouver ... imagine citizens walking up to that wall and interacting with each other through audio and video — it's quite game-changing," said Williamson.

TelePresence is Cisco's immersive virtual conference technology, which is designed to allow a meeting between people in different geographic locations to be conducted without the technology getting in the way.

TelePresence rooms are equipped with discreet cameras and microphones and connected by a high speed link, to ensure minimum latency or lag.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the deal with Cisco will make sure Australia seems more accessible for day-to-day negotiations with footballs governing body, FIFA.

"There is always a perception of Australia being somewhat distant form the rest of the world ... technology such as this allows the world to shrink and means that we can converse with FIFA executive or management on a much more readily basis," he said.

Buckley also explained that TelePresece will also help save on travel expenses. "Travel budgets will certainly be reduced by using this technology," he added.

Cisco's Williamson said the technology was part of London's successful 2012 Olympics bid and has helped the Miami Dolphins, an American football team, build a more "intimate relationship" with its fans.

"[Miami Dolphins fans] have car-park BBQs a few hours before the game — now they are experiencing video links into the changing rooms ... so there is a much more intimate relationship between a general punter and the players," said Williamson.

The partnership will also connect the FFA with its various contacts using WebEx, a collaboration technology that Cisco acquired three years ago.

According to Williamson, WebEx can be used to share documents, audio and video from any desktop, laptop or mobile platforms — such as the iPhone.

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