HP Vs. Cisco Will Bolster TelePresence
It’s still a niche technology, but The VAR Guy expects TelePresence to generate healthy margins for years to come. A few dozen U.S. VARs already specialize in TelePresence — the next-generation video conferencing technology — but more VARs will likely take the plunge as more vendors focus on the market. A case in point: A TelePresence showdown between Hewlett-Packard and Cisco appears to be looming.
HP has launched a $250,000 TelePresence system, which is roughly $100,000 less than previous HP offerings in this market. Cisco’s highest-end TelePresence solution runs about $300,000 per office. But let’s put the numbers in perspective: Some low-end Telepresence systems can cost about $10,000, and mid-tier systems can cost around $100,000 or so.
Prices will surely drop rapidly since TelePresence leverages plasma TVs and other technologies that benefit from economies of scale in the consumer sector. But we’ll need better standards for the TelePresence market to really take off. For instance, most high-end TelePresence systems only work within a single company or a single private network. Cisco’s Pete Alexander says next-generation systems will allow TelePresence links between companies.
Standards and healthy competition between HP and Cisco could open up plenty of opportunities for unified communications VARs.