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Marriot International trashes telepresence rooms

Cisco kit goes out the window

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Cisco’s dream of public telepresence facilities that Joe Public uses for a high-fidelity chat with loved ones or business associates has taken a hit in Asia after hotel chain Marriot booted its kit from hotels across Asia.

Marriot and Cisco announced a tie-up in 2009 and together with AT&T rolled out what they called “Virtual Meeting studios” in the chain's international hotels.

But the studios failed to excite punters, with Marriot and Cisco both sending The Register the same statement that cast the installations as a “pilot program” (although that phrase is hard to find in old PR material) and says “... our customers enjoyed enjoyed hundreds of successful meetings during the pilot program. However customer demand was not high enough in all locations so we have decided not to continue operating the Virtual Meeting studios at Marriott International hotels.”

The Register understands at least seven international hotels offered telepresence, including the Sydney and Shanghai Marriots.

Cisco said it cannot comment on other telepresence bureaux's intentions, but points out a long online list of other public telepresence facilities.

The Register confirmed that the other high profile Australian installation, at Sydney's Sheraton on the Park hotel, remains in place. We also understand that Telstra, another telepresence partner, intends to market the service aggressively later in 2012. ®

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