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December 01, 2009

Instant Telepresence for Everyday Business: Traveling with Telepresence

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

Editor’s Note: As gas prices continue to fluctuate and businesses look for a break in the economic downturn, businesses are tapping to high tech options, such as telepresence and video conferencing, as an alternative to traveling. In the fourth installment of its five-part series highlighting the industry segment, TMCnet looks at the various ways companies are deploying communication technology with BrightCom, a provider of integrated telepresence and video conferencing solutions. Recently, TMCnet focused on how the company solutions can be used for ‘one to one’, or ‘one to many’ telepresence and video conferencing, depending on organizations’ needs. This week, we explore how telepresence can help companies reduce the need to travel locally and globally.
When it comes to traveling, businesses these days are exchanging plane tickets and mileage for the comforts of their offices, thanks to telepresence.
The technology, which is expected to reach $4.7 billion by 2014, is widely used to help businesses overcome issues related travel. For one thing, travel costs are high as companies have to pay for the expense of driving and flying, hotel accommodations, gas and cab money. What’s more, travel cuts into people’s time, making them less productive and impacting deadlines. Public health is also a concern with travel, BrightCom officials said.
But telepresence can help businesses minimize those costs and help them save precious time.
With telepresence, employees are at a reduced risk of contracting viruses and other illnesses, such as the swine flu. Telepresence (News - Alert) helps users take fewer sick days and be more productive. In addition, companies are using the technology to lessen their environmental impact. Fewer plane trips and car rides will help organizations minimize their carbon footprints, Bright Com said.
BrightCom’s telepresence services enable businesses and organizations of all sizes save on money, time and the productivity of employees. The technology is useful for companies that need to travel short distances as well. For example, firms located in Southern California - an area often clogged with traffic and congestion – might deploy telepresence to minimize the time it takes for employees to attend a local training event or meeting involving different locations of their company, BrightCom said.
First California Bank is one such customer using telepresence for local communication. The company maintains offices in multiple locations within Southern California. Because employees were required to attend meetings at different offices, they spent several hours traveling on a regular basis.
To ease the burden, First California Bank deployed BrightCom’s Visual Collaboration System and ClearView Video Conferencing System. BrightCom’s Visual Collaboration Server, a processor based, single network appliance, offers users a set of integrated video and Web conferencing capabilities, as well meeting scheduling and administration functions. Companies can log-in to a secured, online meeting environment and schedule or start instant meetings.
With it, BrightCom satisfies the bank’s need to share applications, file broadcasts and data sharing during meetings. The system also gives meeting attendees the feeling of close collaboration with instant communication and face-to-face interaction.
Telepresence is also useful for businesses that span across the world, particularly for companies that are manufacturers with headquarters, designers and factories in different countries.
For example, Uyemura International Corp. selected BrightCom’s telepresence and video conferencing infrastructure for its Uyemura USA division. With it, Uyemura USA plans to link its technical and sales teams that are spread across the nation to its Ontario, California-based headquarters with its Technical Center in Southington, Conn. The company also wants to offer its customers a channel to speak with the company’s sales and technical teams for project management.
Meanwhile, Vaughan Benz, a manufacturer of high-end, custom made wood and upholstered furniture for the hospitality industry, is using the company’s integrated HD video and data solutions. Vaughan Benz implemented BrightCom’s ClearView Telepresence system to enhance communications and strengthen its corporate culture between the company’s North American and Chinese manufacturing facilities.
Using the Web conferencing features, Vaughan Benz officials can share data and control of the meetings. In addition, they can collaborate by cooperatively marking up documents and taking control remotely of another person’s desktop.
VCS powers BrightCom’s Lumina Telepresence and ClearView Video Conferencing with high definition, standard definition video and audio broadcasts that can be shown in a multi-screen layout, which the meeting moderator selects. It can also display up to 16 video screens – visible by an unlimited number of people – broadcast on desktop Web cams, conference rooms, or telepresence suites from around the world.
BrightCom’s system can connect users in the same office, or offer private, invitation-only meetings. It can also be used for public meetings to let anonymous users join, such as for Webinars, training programs and large presentations.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering business communications Her areas of focus include conferencing, SIP, Fax over IP, unified communications and telepresence. Amy also writes about education and healthcare technology, overseeing production of e-Newsletters on those topics as well as communications solutions and UC. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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