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Business conferencing gets a boost from Tata

Tata Communications will introduce telepresence exchange services that will support meetings between any connected private and public rooms using Cisco TelePresence products, said the communications provider.

Telepresence uses a variety of video, audio and conferencing technologies to allow people in different rooms around the world to appear as though they were in the same conference room.

Tata Communications is in discussion with a number of regional carriers to collaborate on extending its telepresence network–called Global Meeting Exchange–into geographically diverse markets. As a result, any business with a connection to the Global Meeting Exchange will have access to set up TelePresence virtual meetings with their ecosystem of users, achieving a very high level of collaboration without the major costs and disruptions of international travel.

“The Global Meeting Exchange will conveniently support B2B sessions among any connected private and public Cisco TelePresence rooms,” said Peter Quinlan, director of Managed Telepresence Services, Tata Communications. “This pioneering global service framework pushes telepresence from being a private intra-company experience to support the strong demand for inter-company sessions.”

Tata Communication's telepresence services include managed private rooms, public rooms that can be rented by the hour, and the ability for these private and public rooms to connect with each other.

Points of presence

To reliably and cost-effectively support global business to business (B2B) connectivity, Tata's Global Meeting Exchange will have major telepresence service points of presence (PoPs) in Mumbai in India, New York in the US, and London in the UK, and minor points of presence co-resident in Tata's global MPLS PoPs in major cities around the world. Customer connections will be supported at any of many easily reached PoPs and this globally dispersed PoP distribution will ensure optimum performance with short connection paths.

“The Global Meeting Exchange builds upon our current Managed telepresence private network and Public Room services; our extensive owned data bandwidth across the world; Tata's major national network assets in India, South Africa, and later this year China; and our inter-carrier relationships,” said John Landau, senior vice-president, global managed services, Tata Communications. “Our B2B cooperation with Cisco and partner carriers will bring a new level of value demanded by Cisco TelePresence users.”

Tata Communications currently has operational public rooms in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Gurgaon in India; London in the UK; and Boston in the US, and has recently announced an agreement to manage a public room in Manila for PLDT in the Philippines. Tata Communications plans to significantly expand its global network of rooms by the end of this year.

At least one analyst thinks that telepresence is a growing trend. “The exceptional growth of telepresence deployments during 2008 is a testament to the strong user experience provided by these integrated visual collaboration solutions, In addition, while the current economic climate has negatively impacted IT-related spending, it has fuelled interest in telepresence,” said Ira Weinstein, partner, Wainhouse Research.

“Services that enable inter-company telepresence sessions will further increase the benefit and value of these highly-immersive sessions. Organisations deploying telepresence should include company-to-company telepresence capabilities in their global communications strategy.”

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