Tandberg Gets the Telepresence Call

Michael Vizard

Recognizing that telepresence isn't an easy sell for everyone, Tandberg rolled out a new telepresence service at the VoiceCon conference this week.

According to Mike Baird, Tandberg senior director for business value and positioning, the Callway service is really intended as a starter kit for IT organizations looking to put their proverbial toe in the telepresence waters. For example, Tandberg recommends the service for customers who need only 10 or fewer end points. Beyond that, Tandberg recommends deploying on-premise servers.

Over time, however, more telepresence systems will be delivered as a service, following the same adoption path as unified communications. Ultimately, Baird said the deployment model surrounding telepresence systems is likely to be a hybrid model where some servers will be hosted in the cloud, while others are deployed locally.

To make that happen, however, the telepresence ecosystem needs to be open. Tandberg is in the process of being acquired by Cisco, which has its own set of proprietary telepresence offerings. So the industry as a whole is waiting to see how open Cisco's approach will be after acquiring Tandberg, which has a longtime commitment to open systems.

Separately, Tandberg has also rolled out a high-resolution personal telepresence end point called the EX90 that sports a rich user interface designed for senior executives. Once shown the EX90, it's more likely that senior executives will want to fund the adoption of telepresence systems, Baird said.

Callway will be formally rolled out in the third quarter, but customers are invited to apply to be part of the initial pilot starting at the end of April.

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