Cisco Systems tried to build momentum behind its high-end TelePresence video conferencing system at CeBIT on March 16 by building out features and announcing the first public service based on its TelePresence technology.
Cisco added two key features designed to broaden the appeal of the life-like conferencing system by allowing virtual meetings in several locations at the same time and by allowing users to establish virtual meetings with customers or partners outside the enterprise firewall.
Cisco added a new TelePresence Multipoint Switch to connect as many as 36 different locations in a virtual meeting. Users can select whether they want speakers in the meeting to be displayed by individual screens, or by full location.
Ciscos new Cisco Secure Business to Business TelePresence technology allows users to conduct virtual meetings across enterprise DMZs. That capability is the cornerstone for a new TelePresence service also launched at CeBIT by the U.K.-based Regus Group.
The office space provider will allow multiple conferencing rooms to be linked at the same time in a TelePresence session. The rooms can be among the 50 Regus TelePresence locations the company plans to deploy or external TelePresence locations operated by third parties.
Regus, which provides 950 office locations in 400 cities across the globe, will offer the service to its current tenants and to the general public as a service by the hour or an extended service.
"These new enhancements move TelePresence beyond the four- to twelve-person meeting solution to a new range of applications that help scale businesses and their teams," said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of the Emerging Markets Technology Group for Cisco, in a statement.
Cisco also integrated its TelePresence System with other technologies to enable richer communications in virtual meetings. Specifically, Cisco integrated TelePresence with WebEx to allow virtual meeting participants to share spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides and even video across TelePresence rooms. The Auto-Collaborate function works by automatically projecting images from the most activated TelePresence room device to all the rooms in the meeting
At the same time, Cisco integrated its one-screen TelePresence 1000 System with the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offering to connect subject matter experts with customers or partners who are at different locations. The Cisco TelePresence Virtual Agent for example can enable a mortgage expert to meet virtually with customers at remote branch offices on demand, without requiring the expert to travel to that branch.