Easynet Global Services has called for international businesses to leave behind their obsolete, difficult-to-use legacy videoconferencing equipment and switch to managed telepresence. Self-managed videoconference suites are 90% unused according to Scott Morrison, Gartner Research Vice President, yet Easynet says that its own managed telepresence suites are seeing at least 80% utilisation.
Around 1 million professional video conferencing suites are installed world wide, says Morrison, which are used on average for just 45 minutes each day. The key, he says, is to upgrade to IP to enable a true telepresence solution and improve manageability, and use High Definition to improve the user experience.
With telepresence, remote participants appear in life-like dimensions and the audio and video quality is so good that participants are virtually transported into the room. Crucially for the attendees, managed telepresence across an IP network enables a straightforward, uncomplicated user experience throughout the entire meeting process. It is this, says Matt Taylor, Easynet’s head of managed videoconferencing products, which will influence the take-up of telepresence and will help to deliver Gartner’s expectation of total telepresence market revenue generating $1.5 billion annually by 2010.
“When they think of videoconferencing, some businesses still imagine an old TV and camera which no-one knows how to use”, says Taylor, “But with managed telepresence, it just isn’t like that. It’s an immersive, life-like experience. And although the technology is amazing, it takes a back seat – someone else is managing it, so users just walk into the room, greet their meeting participants and the meeting begins”.
Booking the room must be fast, efficient and simple with good availability. Functions such as ad hoc calling to invite new participants must be as easy as calling someone on a mobile. Touch panels should be installed, rather than complex user interfaces or remote controls, says Taylor. It is these factors which drive usage and which ultimately ensure the maximum return on investment. Business benefits include a reduction in travel costs; a significant impact on environmental targets such as reduction of carbon emissions; an improvement in productivity; enhanced collaboration; and an improvement in work/life balance.
Following the roll out of its Managed Virtual Meeting telepresence solution to its own global offices, Easynet has saved 30% on its travel costs in the first few months of installation, has seen a return on its initial investment in less than 12 months, and expects significant bottom line benefits going forward.