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TelePresence in the Cloud

With five years of Cisco TelePresence successfully under foot, I’m eagerly looking to the future of the technology. And where does this future lie? Well, I’m not a fortune-teller, but I’ll make a prophecy:  The future of telepresence is, in part, in the cloud.

To date, telepresence has made its name largely as an enterprise technology. Its traditional infrastructure requires IT know-how and onsite maintenance capabilities. On the contrary, hosted telepresence requires no special technical expertise, nor does it demand a large equipment investment. Affordability, ease of deployment, and automation make a hosted telepresence service a highly feasible collaboration technology for smaller businesses.

With hosted models, customers have additional choice and flexibility in how they start or grow their telepresence solutions.  14 major service providers have successfully implemented TelePresence services for their customers in partnership with Cisco and our products.  This has enabled existing customers to scale their deployments as well as new customers to begin utilizing telepresence across the globe.

On October 25, 2011, we announced a Cisco-hosted offer tailored to the needs of smaller businesses.  Cisco TelePresence for Small and Medium Business, which introduces a Cisco Collaboration Cloud service called Cisco TelePresence Callway, is an offer that’s attractive to small and medium-sized businesses because it reduces the cost and complexity of a self-managed service and enables these smaller customers to get started quickly.  What’s really exciting is that this hosted offer complements the enterprise and service provider experiences as well: the Callway service is designed to enable a larger community of users by enabling its subscribers to call any telepresence endpoint.  In this way, enterprise users can communicate with their smaller partners and yield even more value from their telepresence experience.

In addition to working towards delivering a larger community of users, it’s our goal to eventually make cloud-based telepresence an on-demand communication capability to generate new routes to markets for businesses to reach their customers and consumers.  I share this vision toward the end of the video below, where I expand on my thoughts on the possibilities of cloud and telepresence.

I look forward to sharing many updates on telepresence’s journey to the cloud and elaborating on all of the other related cloud-based virtual services. But more on that later …

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