Tata launches 'public' Cisco video conferencing
Tata Communications and Cisco have opened public video conferencing rooms in London and California, meaning people in existing public rooms in India now have someone to talk to.
They're working with luxury hotel group Taj and hope to rent the rooms by the hour to business people. Yesterday rooms opened in London and Santa Clara. The service was already available in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
The rooms, branded Cisco Telepresence, cost between $299 and $899 an hour, PC World reports.
They provide high-definition video around a "virtual table". Tata hopes to have 100 of these rooms working by the end of 2009. The service is aimed at smaller businesses which cannot afford the expense of kitting out their own rooms.
The last few months have seen a rash of announcements by companies punting video conferencing. At first, they were citing the increasing cost of air travel and green concerns as the magic bullet that would finally spur take-up of the technology. Now, as the economy nose-dives, they are pitching video conferencing as a panacea for corporate travel costs.
Both of which are exactly the same justifications being bandied around in the last two economic downturns. Someday perhaps they'll realise that business travellers would rather spend ten hours in a tin tube watching old movies on a tiny screen en route to a meeting than watch their colleagues on a high-def screen without ever having to put their lives at risk.®
Travel = perk
I always enjoy suggesting video conferencing instead of travel to managers as I find this suggestion is usually about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit.
Not a good value...
Even the current vid conference technology doesn't come close to replacing the "face to face" meeting. At best it's a step up from conference calls, with all of the disadvantages and none of the advantages (anyone for a quick BF2142 session?).
So why would one pay three bills an hour to stare at a screen? Even assuming you're already located in one of the cities in question, if the meeting is only for an hour or two what's the advantage of video here? You wouldn't use it for a sales presentation certainly and any other kind of "important" meeting usually involves ACTUAL important discussions before and afterward over drinks. Can't see that happening "virtually".
When you stop and consider how *inexpensive* high quality webcams and large screen monitors are these days, paying that much for video conference services makes sense how?
Paris because this sounds like something she'd think up.
They'll never get it
Senior managers, and indeed most junior managers, will always have to travle for business meetings. After all it's important to make an impression by meeting in person and, er, er, the technology isn't reliable enough yet and, er, frequent flyer miles! Oh sorry, no, that's not a business reason, er, beer on expenses! No, wait, er, hang on, er, yes - techies! They can use the videoconference-thingy. What? $299 an hour to talk about bots and boytes or whatever it is they do? Surely they can use that electronic mail thing, or MNS Messenger, isn't it great how Marks and Spencer are getting in on the act these days? What? 11:30 already? Time for my massage I think.