It's Almost Like Being There

— December 01, 2006

The growing telepresence market continues to attract major players, and Cisco Systems is now among them with the unveiling of a high-end solution designed to mimic the experience of a real time, face-to-face meeting. Cisco's TelePresence Meeting solution is available for both large and small meetings and works over an Internet Protocol (IP) network to deliver all the nuances of an in-person meeting--right down to the raise of an eyebrow or the loosening of a tie.

TelePresence Meeting bridges the communication gap common to conference calls through high-definition video and sound, including large-screen plasma televisions that portray meeting participants in life-size. Spatial audio systems and advanced cameras that provide eye-to-eye contact further the feeling of a true face-to-face meeting. Plus, scheduling a meeting is as simple as sending an invitation from a user's calendar application.

Marthin De Beer, VP and general manager of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology group, says the TelePresence solution catapults the concept of virtual communications to a new level. "This will profoundly change the way people communicate," he predicts.

But not in a good way, claims Marc Trachtenberg, co-founder and CEO of Teliris, a leading telepresence provider to Fortune 1000 and FTSE 100 companies. He calls Cisco's TelePresence solution "a first-generation product" with significant compromises and limitations. Cisco officials declined to respond to Trachtenberg's comments.

TelePresence Meeting is currently available in two models: The TelePresence 1000 ($79,000) is designed for small meetings and one-on-one conversations, while the TelePresence 3000 ($299,000) is geared for meetings of 12 or more people.
--Michael Barbella


In The News

Partnerships
MICROSOFT and FRANCE TELECOM are launching MSN instant messaging on mobile phones in France. The service is the first collaboration between PC-based and mobile-based instant messaging services. Britan and Spain will get the service next year.

BRIGHTPOINT will deliver VERIZON WIRELESS products and services to small- and medium-sized businesses through its channel of providers, including Verizon's VZOffice offering.

Wireless broadband VoIP services will be available to small- and mid-size businesses in Colorado, thanks to an agreement between WAVMAX and IP5280 COMMUNICATIONS. The partnership provides a business-grade alternative to traditional phone company services, high-speed wireless connectivity and advanced IP calling features.

Deployments
The U.S. NATIONAL GUARD is buying mobile radio frequency identification (RFID) kits from SAVI TECHNOLOGY to track supplies at its armories and
during disaster relief operations. Under the $4.6 million contract, Savi will provide kits and mobile handheld readers to each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

GASFORCE has chosen SERVICEPOWER to help schedule its 300 mobile service engineers and monitor their territories. GasForce is the United Kingdom's only national provider of gas maintenance, installation and services for commercial, industrial and
public service users.

INTEGRATION MANAGEMENT has agreed to provide data management leadership for Washington State. Integration will collect health plan data and provide the Washington State Medical Education and Research Foundation with reports on doctors and patient care in an effort to improve healthcare.

GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES is designing a communications network for THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL in Denver. The network will include more than 5,000 IP phones and more than 800 wireless access points to centralize voicemail, conferencing and other communications features.

ASSOCIATED GROCERS OF THE SOUTH is saving $2 million annually by streamlining product orders through mobile technology from CIPHERLAB. The 300 stores that comprise Associated Grocers are using CPT-8021 acoustic coupler terminals to eliminate the ordering of discontinued items and to streamline the stores'
overall ordering process.

FIRETIDE and RIGNET have installed more than 100 industrial wireless mesh networks on oil and natural gas rigs worldwide. The mesh networks provide highly secure wireless network extensions on the rigs, where laying cable is difficult or almost impossible.

Notebook
ST. LOUIS PARK has become the first city in the nation to offer its residents access to solar-powered wireless Internet service. Expected to last five years, the service will be available by July. It uses about 400 solar panels--each the size of a stop sign--to connect users. The panels will be airborne and connect to batteries storing solar power.

AMD, a global supplier of integrated circuits for personal and networked computing and communications, marked the 10-year anniversary of its Dresden-based operations with a ceremony attended by German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and other dignitaries.

Software that helps users better recognize handwritten medical terms is now available in a Tablet PC version from SPELLEX CORPORATION. The Tablet PC version includes more than 30,000 medical words to enhance handwriting recognition and 350,000 words for spell checking.

In WASHINGTON, D.C., police have a new crime-fighting partner: the Web. The department's Web site enables users to create a map of any part of the city and see reported crimes. Cartoonish icons represent crimes; cracked houses symbolize burglaries; money sacks represent thefts.

Next fall, manufacturers of wireless home networking equipment will be required under California law to warn consumers about the dangers of unsecured Wi-Fi networks. The WIFI USER
PROTECTION BILL is designed to prevent unauthorized sharing of open WiFi networks.

INTEL has created a wireless, high-speed Internet network for residents of Parintins, a town on the Amazon River banks. The introduction of wireless technology is expected to improve the healthcare and education for the town's 114,000 residents.

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