Cameras, lighting and all the connecting software come as part of the service in a rental-type arrangement.
Cisco's TelePresence, the first high-definition virtual meeting system to
transmit full-size, high-quality video images capable of conveying body
language and excellent sound quality, has been moving right along on the market
its introduction in 2006
As an alternative to increasingly expensive personal travel, the idea
resonated immediately in large enterprises around the world, with hundreds of
systems being sold in the first year. Now it's on a fast track to become a $5 billion business by 2015
, according to industry analysts.
At first, TelePresence was deployed only in
specially designed and equipped teleconference rooms within enterprises-mostly
larger ones that had both the extra space and financial bandwidth to handle it.
Later, Cisco started marketing scaled-down versions for smaller businesses
and even home office use. Those, too, have gained attention as useful business
tools. But the fact remains that they are a major capital expense.
Now another major step has taken place: TelePresence can now be utilized as
a cloud service. Finally, the ability to virtually "sit across the
table" with someone on another continent and talk business face-to-virtual
face is coming within the reach of moderate-budget organizations.
Now Available as an On-Demand Service
IT integrator and cloud service provider CSC
on March 28 launched its TelePresence as a Service offering, an end-to-end
managed videoconferencing package that serves up TelePresence's product suite
without the need for users to purchase any equipment. Cameras, lighting and all
the connecting software come as part of the service in a rental-type
"CSC's TaaS provides TelePresence
packages at fixed monthly costs, and has the capability to integrate disparate
technology platforms into one, simplified user interface," Nimesh Shah, CSC's
Global Portfolio Executive for Managed Network Services, told eWEEK.
"We're launching this on a per-room model with a monthly recurring
charge. This includes the equipment we place in the room as well as the service
itself. We've changed the model for this from a capital expense model to an
opex [operating expense] model."
TelePresence was designed to create a meeting experience that is as close as
possible to a live, in-person meeting. The system controls all aspects of the
virtual meeting-down to the physical conference table, lighting, room design,
and audio and video inputs-to provide a high-quality experience.
As a result, TelePresence-with its oversize monitor screens and
high-definition video/audio-is very close to the experience of being only a few
feet away from the person or persons with whom one is negotiating.
As any experienced business person knows, the determination of body language
and voice tone is very important in completing a successful negotiation or
other business transaction, and these details are enabled through the system.
CSC also announced on March 28 that it
has earned Cisco's TelePresence Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) status in
the United States,
the United Kingdom
and in Australia.
European and Asian operations are in the pipeline.
The certification validates TaaS, the newest addition to CSC's
existing suite of unified communications and collaboration services, as proven
and ready for government and commercial organizations to deploy today, Shah
"CSC's TelePresence as a Service is
unique because of CSC's capability to
seamlessly integrate technologies like calendar functions, ERP and CRM
software, and communications services that currently exist within the client's
enterprise," Shah said.
Shah said pricing for the CSC
TelePresence as a Service is being determined and information will be made
available on a consultation basis.
All three of CSC's TaaS packages include
24/7 remote operations support, planning and design services, ongoing endpoint
equipment maintenance, ongoing endpoint monitoring and management, and
professional services to install endpoints.
CSC is headquartered in Falls
Church, Va. It employs about
93,000 people and reported revenue of $16.2 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2010.