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Managed TelePresence Services Reach Tipping Point

By Joe Panettieri, MSPmentor.net

7/1/09

It's the TelePresence announcement I've been awaiting for about six months. A major hotel chain, a major service provider and a major technology vendor are partnering up to deploy managed TelePresence services (a.k.a. next-generation video conferencing) at hotels worldwide. Here's the scoop. Plus, the implications for managed service providers.

First, the news:

Marriott International is announcing it will offer telepresence technology in its hotels worldwide, using AT&T's fully-managed AT&T Telepresence Solution. Cisco TelePresence(TM) technology will enable Marriott to offer customers the widest array of meeting options, whether in-person, virtual or both.

There's a simple message here for MSPs: You need to master video. Fast. As your customers begin to spot TelePresence services in major hotels, they will begin to ask you about lower-cost video services for their own businesses.

At first, TelePresence was cost-prohibitive for many MSPs and their customers. A typical TelePresence video conferencing room could cost $300,000 or more to deploy, plus ongoing monthly service management fees. Gradually, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, LifeSize Communications and other companies have introduced lower-cost TelePresence options.

Now, major service providers and hotels are jumping into the action, offering TelePresence services to hotel guests for a flat hourly fee.

According to a press release:

Initially, Marriott plans to locate telepresence meeting suites in 25 global gateway cities, including New York, San Francisco, Washington, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Frankfurt and London, in its Marriott Hotels & Resorts®, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts® and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts® brands. The first telepresence meeting suites are expected to go live at the end of October.

Of course, TelePresence and high-definition video have multiple applications. Many MSPs are starting to offer managed video as a service (MVaaS), which allows retailers, government offices and school campuses to closely monitor their properties. End of article.


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