Repeat After Me: TelePresence Is A Managed ServiceRepeat After Me: TelePresence Is A Managed Service
TelePresence -- that fancy term for next-generation videoconferencing -- hasn't gone mainstream yet. But I believe the TelePresence market is reaching a tipping point, thanks to falling prices, integration work between networking vendors and service providers, and webcasting capabilities from Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard's Halo.
June 18, 2009
telepresence-managed-servicesTelePresence — that fancy term for next-generation videoconferencing — hasn’t gone mainstream yet. But I believe the TelePresence market is reaching a tipping point, thanks to falling prices, integration work between networking vendors and service providers, and webcasting capabilities from Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard’s Halo. But here’s a question for managed service providers: Are you going to make a TelePresence move? Before you answer…
… Consider these four TelePresence trends:
1. Falling Prices: A year or two ago, TelePresence conference rooms cost $300,000 or more to build out, plus monthly maintenance service fees. Now, aggressive start-ups like LifeSize Communications are pushing personalized TelePresence systems that cost $10,000 or so. In fact, we’ve been hearing rumors that Cisco is taking a close look at LifeSize.
2. Any-to-Any Connections: When TelePresence first launched, videoconferencing connections could only be made within a company intranet. It was like having an internal phone that couldn’t dial the outside world. But that’s changing. BT, for instance, has completed an Exchange that allows inter-company TelePresence sessions.
3. TelePresence Room Rentals: Hotels are rapidly building out TelePresence conference rooms. Imagine the following scenario:
You’re a small managed service provider in New York that has a customer in Florida.
Instead of hopping on a flight for an extended face-to-face meeting, you visit a New York hotel with TelePresence capabilities, and your customer visits a Florida hotel that has similar TelePresence capabilities.
Now, you play a flat hourly fee for the room and the TelePresence connection.
These on-demand TelePresence rooms are finding homes at airports and on college campuses. Similar to finding a WiFi hotspot five years ago, people will soon search Google Maps for local TelePresence centers where they can conduct TelePresence sessions.
4. Webcasting Capabilities: HP already evangelizes managed services for its Halo TelePresence systems. And just this week, HP introduced webcasting capabilities on Halo — which sounds to me like HP is countering Cisco’s integrated TelePresence-WebEx strategy.
Virtually all customers are now familiar with webcasts. So TelePresence could be a next logical move for them.
The Managed Services Opportunity
There are multiple TelePresence opportunities ahead for MSPs.
First, most corporate networks will require significant switch, router and software upgrades to handle TelePresence sesssions.
Second, businesses will need somebody to actually build out TelePresence conference rooms, home offices, etc.
And third, businesses will need somebody to actually maintain the TelePresence systems — monitoring and troubleshooting Quality of Service (QoS) issues before they go from minor issues to major problems.
The TelePresence market is still a niche. And I’m sure I’ve skipped many challenges facing the TelePresence market. But I’m keeping the faith.
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