Global Crossing Dives Into Telepresence Pool

Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC) is jumping into the telepresence market, hoping to leverage its existing base of videoconferencing services and customers to gain a slice of the growing pie for high-end conferencing.

While trailing such players as AT&T Global Network Services , BT Global Services , and Verizon Enterprise Solutions into the market, Global Crossing believes it can gain market share by offering a managed service that knits together telepresence and existing collaborative services, including other forms of videoconferencing and audio conferencing. (See AT&T Study Finds Fast Telepresence Payback, BT Helps Videoconferencers Connect, Verizon Offers Managed TelePresence, and Orange BS Enhances Telepresence Portfolio.)

The Global Crossing service will be based on Teliris Ltd. telepresence technology, extending the partnership Global Crossing already had with the vendor.

"We have had a referral relationship with Teliris in the past," says Frank Piotrowski, senior product manager, videoconferencing, for Global Crossing. "We have had a strong relationship with them for decades -- their products are easy to integrate."

But now Global Crossing wants to offer the full suite of its own managed videoconferencing solutions, which means adding telepresence.

"We know how to manage customer videoconferencing networks; we've been doing that a long time," Piotrowski says. "And now we have integrated telepresence. A number of our competitors just offer it as a separate service. We provide support for all the services that will be part of a collaboration offering -- audio, Web, streaming video -- a full package for customers."

Global Crossing also integrates its managed telepresence offering with Webcast from On24, a Webinar platform provider. One advantage of this integrated approach is that customers can add a telepresence room at a corporate headquarters and use it to reduce executive travel without deploying telepresence systems at every corporate site, Piotrowski says. Telepresence sites can then be added as they become financially justifiable.

Global Crossing will also take advantage of the Teliris 6G system, which uses scalable video coding to reduce the bandwidth required to support telepresence.

Despite their relatively recent arrival in the market, telepresence services are already under price pressure, Piotrowski says.

"There's a lot of price competition, especially between the different solutions. It is still an expensive product, but there is definitely competition in there, and we are seeing it reflected in pricing."

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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