Tata Communications has announced the launch of its Telepresence rooms - multi-location conference systems that include high-quality video and audio as well as presentation facilities, using telepresence equipment made by Cisco, allowing real-time, face-to-face communications over a converged IP network.
The service wil be available for public use in the US and UK and will be linked to additional public rooms in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
Earlier in April, Tata Communications had announced that it would set up telepresence rooms at CII offices in four cities - New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - and available for CII members on a 'pay-per-use' basis (See: Tata Communications and Cisco to set up telepresence rooms at CII).
The service will allow companies and individual users to utilise these Telepresence centres for one-off meetings to help them save on travel time and costs by allowing multi-location conferenceing. Each Telepresence centre can accommodate up to 18 people in a single room that is equipped with state-of-the-art video conferencing technology, and will be available for rent from $299 to $899 an hour, depending on the room size.
The move follows a similar initiative in the US by Hewlett Packard in March this year, in partnership with Marriott International to make HP's video-conferencing technology, known as Halo, available to the public at selected Marriott hotels.
Tata Communications is working with Cisco, Taj Hotels, the Indian Hotels Company Limited, and the Confederation of India Industry (CII) to offer public telepresence facilities, available on hourly rent.
The first phase of public rooms was launched in India in July at the Taj Hotels in Mumbai and Bangalore, and CII offices in Bangalore and Chennai. Tata Communications plans to make 100 rooms available globally by the end of 2009.
In a related move Cisco also introduced a dedicated public Cisco TelePresence suites facility in Santa Clara, California, today.
"With this innovative service offering, Tata Communications is not only adding value to its business and that of its customers, but revolutionising business altogether," said Tata Communications' chief operating officer, Vinod Kumar. "This groundbreaking innovation enables our global customers to join a wider ecosystem of users via public access rooms allowing them to not only to communicate virtually in real-time but providing a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution."
The public room offering creates a larger network of interconnected rooms and expands the telepresence market to small and mid-sized businesses. Tata Communications' managed service offers a professionally run concierge service that handles reservations, scheduling, customer support, monitoring, management, reporting and billing capabilities.
These services provide organisations with the ease and speed to deploy and manage highly collaborative tools more effectively. The public room offering is also certified as a world class network solution, which further helps ensure high levels of reliability and availability.
"Public Cisco TelePresence rooms provide global organisations with a cost effective way to connect in virtual 'in person' meetings with key customers, partners and suppliers around the globe. Our objective was to collaborate with a company to launch a unique Cisco TelePresence solution that was innovative, yet reliable and cost effective for businesses whatever their size," said Cisco Chief Globalisation Officer, Wim Elfrink. "Working with Tata Communications offers customers extensive coverage in a user-friendly managed service, and has the potential to help small to medium businesses develop more globalised business models.
These Public Cisco TelePresence rooms join a Cisco TelePresence ecosystem that almost 300 rooms internal to Cisco and more than 1,000 rooms installed by over 200 customers. Cisco TelePresence is now represented in over 60 countries worldwide."
Cisco TelePresence provides life-like, high definition, conferencing facilities with superior audio, video and environmental qualities allowing participants to meet their colleagues, customers and business partners across a virtual table.
Cisco TelePresence use also contributes towards a company's environmental responsibility, enabling it to lower overall CO2 emissions by reducing the need for travel.
"It is our constant endeavour to provide state-of-the-art value-added services to our customers. With the Telepresence facility, we will be one of the first hospitality companies worldwide to offer this kind of cutting edge technology.
We are happy to announce that this facility will be available at Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces' properties in Mumbai, Bangalore, New York, Boston and London," said Mr. Raymond Bickson, managing director, Indian Hotels Corporation Ltd.
Tata Communications have plans to open additional rooms in Hyderabad, Gurgaon, and New York later this year, with a more extensive global rollout of 100 rooms planned to be deployed by 2009.