Bob Leggio, vice-president of sales at Telanetix, said its telepresence offering is ready to expand its number of deployments in the UK and Europe as bandwidth has increased.
Further, Telanetix can offer less costly solutions than those of some other vendors, he claimed.
“I think the networking is getting better in the UK, the availability and the price,” Leggio said.
“And we can deploy our meeting room package for US$169,000, compared to other vendors’ US$350,000 to US$500,000.”
Some vendors insisted on customers setting aside entire rooms of a certain size to set up as dedicated videoconferencing areas, but Telanetix offerings did not require that approach, Leggio said.
In major cities such as London where property is expensive that additional deployment flexibility could prove a major advantage, he believed.
On top of that, businesses deploying telepresence can save money because they no longer have to fly as many executives overseas and put them up in fancy hotels, Leggio noted.
The time for such solutions has come, as fuel and environmental considerations move higher on the corporate agenda, he suggested.
But Telanetix has no plans to set up a UK office, preferring instead to work through distributor Imago, Leggio said.
“Imago has got a couple of demonstration units set up in their offices,” he said. “And Imago has the capability to install and assist and support our various types of channel.”
Imago works with integrators, for example. In the US, distributors often did not have the technical expertise to act as agent for a vendor beyond actually shifting product, Leggio said, but the same was not true of the UK.
“They are more box sluggers,” he said.
Here it is more cost-effective for Telenetix to work through distribution,
Frost & Sullivan has found that telepresence sales globally generated revenues of US$165.3 million in 2007 and has projected that to grow to US$1.44 billion by 2013.
“While telepresence has been around for years, it is only in the last two that it has made a major impact,” said Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dominic Dodd.
“It has reawakened C-level executives to the massive potential of visual communications to provide real answers to several key issues facing organisations.”
Telepresence, however, is complex to deliver since it comprises linking various technology systems and service components that require vendors to work closely with network services providers and systems integrators, according to Dodd.
Some vendors do provide a ‘one-stop shop’ but others are building key alliances to create the complete solution, Dodd said.
However, companies may turn away from such high-end solutions in a global economic downturn, opting for cheaper HD videoconferencing products that are now emerging, Dodd warned.
Conversely, companies may see telepresence as a chance to make their organisations more nimble while slashing travel costs and improving productivity, he added.
“Telepresence offers service providers an excellent opportunity to build additional value and customer loyalty around high quality, managed visual communications services,” Dodd said.
“[But] telepresence offerings that do not deliver the promised user experience risk failing, in the same way that many earlier standalone videoconferencing systems failed to create sustained use within organisations through the lack of consistent support services.”
Eventually, HD videoconferencing out of the box is expected to get as good as today’s multi-screen immersive telepresence solutions but this will be a chance for service providers and integrators to develop new telepresence offerings for specific verticals or business applications, according to Dodd.
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