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BT opens international telepresence video conferencing centres


BT today unveiled a network of three high definition (HD) telepresence video conferencing demonstration centres where customers can compare telepresence systems before they buy.

The new centres, in London, New York and Denver, showcase the HD telepresence video conferencing technology of BT’s partners, Cisco, Polycom and Tandberg as well as BT’s industry leading software applications. The centres also showcase BT Global Video Exchange, an award-winning service that allows Cisco TelePresence connections between different companies.

Other customers around the world, including those in Asia Pacific and Latin America, can learn about and use video conferencing at BT offices in their regions.

The first of their kind, BT’s “Showcase Network Centres” allow organisations to try out new conferencing technology and support services free of charge before making a financial investment. The customer can experience equipment from all of the major manufacturers in use on the BT global network, along with BT’s robust support services.

The centres demonstrate how BT’s services combined with manufacturers’ telepresence solutions are easy to use and manage, which in turn will mean increased use and a faster return on the customer’s investment.

BT is now the number one video conferencing provider in the world and is ideally placed to take advantage of analysts’ predictions that telepresence will be the strongest growth area in the video market in 2009.

Jeff Prestel, general manager of BT Conferencing’s Video Business Unit, said: “High definition video and telepresence are taking conferencing to the next level, and BT is uniquely positioned to help customers with video conferencing around the world.

“Our focus is on implementing tailored end-to-end enterprise solutions for customers that are easy to use, reliable and cost-effective in nature. Our global Showcase Network Centres provide customers with the ideal opportunity to experience this, and compare telepresence and video conferencing equipment and services.”

With socially responsible organisations striving to advance their business while reducing their environmental impact, the use of telepresence and HD video conferencing reduces organisations’ carbon footprint, reduces travel costs, increases productivity, and improves employee work/life balance.

In the past, building and maintaining business relationships meant expensive and polluting travel to and from meeting and times spent from home and family. With telepresence, organisations can conduct their meetings face to face and see facial expressions in crucial business discussions and negotiations across the “virtual table” without the need for travel. Launching a meeting is as simple as making a phone call and as people appear lifelike and life-size, both local and remote participants feel as if they are in the same room.

Research on BT’s own use of conferencing in 2007 shows that use of it eliminated 859,784 face to face meetings.* Conservative calculations suggest that each meeting replaced avoided travel and subsistence costs of at least £178, and freed up at least £120 of management time for more productive purposes. These figures equate to at least £135 million of avoided travel and subsistence costs and £103 million of opportunity benefits for BT as a whole. These benefits appear to be at least 10-15 times greater than the costs of providing the conferencing services. Each conference call avoided travel of 247 miles. Each call saves a minimum of 40kgs of CO2, with a net annual saving of at least 97,628 tonnes of CO2.

* Source: “Conferencing at BT” – a report by University of Bradford and SustainIT, April 2007


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