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HP Halo launches webcasting service

Hewlett-Packard announced webcasting technology that expands on its Halo telepresence capabilities.

With the HP Halo Webcasting service, companies that already have at least one Halo telepresence station can multicast video presentations to a theoretically unlimited number of Web-enabled desktops or laptops.

The service will be especially useful for meetings, such as quarterly earnings reports, where thousands of analysts and employees would want to watch a company CEO deliver a presentation in real-time, said Darren Podrabsky, global marketing manager for HP Halo, in an interview.

A one-hour webcast costs $5,000 to $6,000, which includes preparation tasks and storage of the content for a year, HP said.

The endpoints, such as laptops and desktops, only require an Internet connection to be reached by the webcast. The videocast will appear on a client interface in a frame of up to 352 x 288 in CFI video format next to a larger pane for showing slides and other presentations.

The webcasting service can work over both the HP Halo Video Exchange Network, a global network, as well as a company's corporate network, Podrabsky said. Up to three presenters from three different sites can be included in each webcast.

Timed with the Webcasting announcement, HP also said its Halo business unit has been moved into the HP ProCurve Networking business from the HP print and imaging unit, he said. The move gives customers the ability to make decisions about a variety of unified communications technologies and services from one HP location.

HP first introduced its Halo high-end videoconferencing product in December 2005, and now has “many customers” in nearly 40 countries, Podrabsky said. He did not say how many customers there are, but said 80% of the customers will add more components within six months of the initial purchase, a sign of the value of videoconferencing.

HP Halo provides managed services that can vary from $2,000 a month for a Tandberg desktop videoconferencing installation to as much as $18,000 a month for high-end Halo support.

The most expensive Halo system, with three high-definition monitors in a specially equipped room costs $349,000, Podrabsky said.

The videoconferencing is high quality and consistent and can be a suitable replacement for business travel, which leads to a clear return on investment, Podrabsky added.

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