HP Hopes Halo Will Shine on Face-to-Face Collaboration

Halo, the company's new high-end and high-priced video conferencing system, seeks to bring quality and a face-to-face-style experience to virtual collaboration environments.

NEW YORK—None dare call it a just a videoconference.

In the companys first major product announcement since Mark Hurd was named CEO, Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday pulled in some major corporate executives here to help announce Halo Collaboration Studio, its new "communication tool" for the enterprise.

Halo is a high-end conferencing system that costs approximately $550,000 per site along with an $18,000 per month service fee. The project grew out of collaboration with DreamWorks LLC and is being touted as the next generation of conferencing.

Joining Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HPs Imaging and Printing Group, at a series of briefings held on the product, were Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks and Hector Ruiz, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Katzenberg said the level of collaboration enabled by the Halo systems far surpassed traditional videoconferencing systems and enabled projects such as a forthcoming animated movie featuring Jerry Seinfeld.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read HPs take on Halo and its advantages.

"Im a dweeb," Katzenberg said, explaining how his dissatisfaction with the quality of traditional videoconferencing systems led him to pursue a system that was easy to use, had superior sound and video qualities and allowed a new kind of collaboration.

According to Katzenberg, that collaboration can include "audio chaos," or the free form give-and-take inherent in face-to-face creative meetings. This quality was absent in previous videoconferencing systems, he said.

That collaboration also carries a hefty commitment from a company embarking on a Halo installation in terms of money, space and multiple locations.

Presently there are about 30 Halo sites with about half at HP and customer sites at DreamWorks, Pepsi Cola and AMD, said HPs Halo General Manager Ken Crangle.

Crangle said the Halo project has been in development for four years and was approved by CEO Hurd to become a generally available product.

Hurd was at first a skeptic but has become an enthusiastic Halo user within HP, he said.

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