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Telepresence Services Update: Global Exchanges Proliferate

| Apr 7, 2010 | Business Telecom Services
| Analyst: Brian Washbrun, Research Director, Network Services

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With Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg looming, most major players in global telepresence services – even those that favored Tandberg and Polycom – now have a Cisco TelePresence System (TPS) strategy. In 2009, some competitors lacked telepresence video exchanges, or they sourced them from independent third-party managed telepresence services providers. This, too, has changed, and in March 2010 most major providers have their own video NOCs and operate at least one of their own video exchanges, or multiple video exchanges to cover Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Meanwhile, the public room strategies using Cisco TPS platforms experienced a slight delay in their starting plans. The delay left Tata ahead thanks to its regional carrier public room relationships, as well as Cable&Wireless Worldwide, which deployed Polycom RealPresence Experience (RPX) platforms in outsourced workplaces supplier Regus' key office locations worldwide. Some carriers are embracing a public room strategy to bring telepresence to customers that could not ever afford their own platform, while other providers to date have stayed away from this unproven business model. In its embrace of the public room scheme, Tata wins points for innovation for engaging travel agencies to offer their business clientele telepresence as an alternative to business travel; here, the ROI is a simple calculation of local travel and reserved telepresence public room hours vs. the cost of international plane tickets for one or more executives.

Finally, Cisco and participating carriers continue to work on carrier interconnection between the vendor's video exchanges for their customers. Differences in carrier implementation of telepresence services mean that standardized NNI agreements are probably still some time off, though carriers can cooperate to provide standalone high-performance IP capacity to connect telepresence endpoints with another service provider's video exchange. In this market advisory on telepresence services, Current Analysis further delves into these and other topics and trends.

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