Telstra to have a TelePresence?

Telstra to adopt Cisco's video technology?
Written by Brad Howarth, Contributor

Telstra will become one of the first companies in the world to trial new videoconferencing technology from Cisco.

The Cisco TelePresence Meeting system is currently being evaluated by Telstra for communication between four of its capital city locations.

TelePresence simulates a regular meeting environment, using three 65-inch ultra-high definition 1080p panels and three cameras aligned along one side of a boardroom table, coupled with spatially-accurate sound placement.

A Telstra spokesperson said the implementation was about using new technology to improve internal communications. The four systems, each with a price tag of US$299,000, are to be installed before the end of this year.

Cisco Australia's managing director, Ross Fowler, said it intended to install two TelePresence systems within its own Sydney and Melbourne headquarters. He said once the two nodes are installed Cisco would invite potential customers to use the TelePresence rooms to conduct interstate meetings.

Cisco has already appointed Dimension Data as its Australian integration partner, although that company has not been engaged for the Telstra implementation.

The chief marketing officer for Dimension Data, Gerard Florian, expected TelePresence to initially appeal to the high end of Australian corporations. He said that Dimension Data would be assisting Cisco with its own in-house deployment of the technology, as well as with its own clients.

"Cisco has indicated to us a number of Australian organisations keen to trial TelePresence, and Dimension Data will be working closely with Cisco to engage with the local market," Florian said. "It's too early to talk about any specific clients."

Speaking at the product's launch, Cisco chief executive, John Chambers, said he believed that use of TelePresence could cut a company's travel budget significantly. Chambers said that use of TelePresence within Cisco would also eliminate at least US$100 million from his own company's travel budget each year, and generate a productivity gain of between five to 10 percent.

Fowler said the target for Australia was a 20 percent reduction in travel.

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