Glowpoint: Managed Telepresence Services Heat Up

Back in May 2008, I noted that Glowpoint Inc. had launched managed telepresence services, which are like next-generation video conferencing services. It's still very early in the telepresence game (check out our Managed Services Hype Cycle), so I didn't expect telepresence to generate major revenues until 2010 or so.

Still, Glowpoint appears to be proving me wrong. The Hillside, N.J.-based company says it has won $4.5 million worth of business in the past 90 days. And much of that buisness, Glowpoint says, involves multi-year telepresence engagements.

Has telepresence reached the tipping point? I don't think so. The vast majority of businesses don't have the network infrastructure in place required for very high-end telepresence systems, which can cost $300,000 or more per conference room to deploy. And most MSPs and VARs haven't been trained to sell, service or support telepresence.

But the market is showing some momentum. In addition to Glowpoint's apparent success, AT&T, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard each have been working on multiple efforts to push managed telepresence systems into hotels and conference areas. And upstart companies like LifeSize Communications are driving down the cost of telepresence.

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