Cisco to ramp up Telepresence roll out

Despite the expensive price tag, Cisco Systems Inc. expects to ship its recently unveiled videoconferencing system called Telepresence to customers by the end of the year while deploying it internally covering its entire global operations.

Cisco last Thursday gave journalists a preview of Telepresence, announcing two systems -- the Telepresence 1000 and Telepresence 3000 -- priced at US$79,000 and US$299,000, respectively.

During the video conference between Cisco's offices here and Hong Kong, Cisco announced at least five customers Telepresence, most of them telecommunications service providers and one multinational insurance company.

Cisco itself is deploying Telepresence and aims to install it in at least locations by the end of its fiscal year 2007. In Asia Pacific, it has Telepresence running in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo and expects to install it in at least three more cities in the next two months.

By using Telepresence, Cisco aims to cut down its internal travel expenses by 20 percent and reduce overall operational expenses by at least US$100 million.

'We are studying our own adoption patterns and documenting the results along the way to draw up best practices in using a system such as Telepresence,' said Chuck Trent, Cisco's chief information officer for Asia Pacific.