AT&T has rolled out its Telepresence Solution, a compelling new way to communicate domestically as well
as internationally. Available in 75 countries, AT&T takes international conference calls and transforms them
into vivid, life-size teleconferences. While this technology allows for an "in person" meeting experience
via complex video conferencing systems and HD television sets, it's not necessarily the end of international conference
calling as we now know it. In fact, global collaboration and virtual meetings using existing technologies have
been occurring for many years.
What does AT&T's Telepresence Solution do? It enables international callers to conduct face-to-face meetings
without having to travel, potentially saving participants thousands of dollars in travel expenses and eliminating
the hassles of international travel. AT&T offers this solution as a managed telepresence service where AT&T
owns the equipment and bills customers each month for the service. This arrangement eliminates the need for upfront
investments in equipment and ensures budget predictability.
Optionally, AT&T can integrate the solution with customer-owned equipment. In addition to installing equipment
at the sites of Telepresence Solution customers, third parties such as Marriott Hotels are getting into the act
by creating Telepresence Solution rooms and making them available for rent.
Unlike traditional international
conference calls, taking advantage of this new technology requires all parties to attend the teleconference
at a site equipped with the Telepresence Solution. While it may be inconvenient to book a meeting room equipped
with the technology, it's better than having to fly around the globe in order to attend a physical meeting.
Video conferencing, whether in full high definition video or standard video, coupled with international conference
calling remains one of the best ways to control costs while also facilitating international collaboration. Existing
video Web conferencing technology is readily available with participants being able to attend using standard office
equipment such as a computer with Internet access and a phone. Inexpensive webcams add video to the mix, allowing
for virtual face-to-face meetings from around the globe.
Hosting a video Web conference in conjunction with international conference calling technologies allows for better
sound quality than using built-in microphones and sending audio over the Internet. An integrated conference with
a phone bridge is ideal as participants can speak to one another over the phone line while interacting onscreen.
File sharing and desktop sharing further enhance the conference, making for a full-fledged, real time collaboration
AT&T's Telepresence Solution as well as international conference calls and video Web conferences offer similar
benefits including: a global reach, improved communications, faster decision making, and reduced financial and
For example, international conference calls and Web conferencing technologies allow you to interact, in real time,
with your colleagues and partners located in hundreds of countries. By being able to see and hear each other, communications
become more personable and misunderstandings less frequent. Non-verbal communications allow everyone to better
understand the nuances being expressed - nuances and subtleties that would otherwise be missed or misinterpreted.
This is especially important when your team is made up of culturally diverse team members.
In addition, since international conference calling takes place in real time, decisions are made faster. Rather
than a drawn-out exchange of emails with long delays due to time zone differences, well scheduled international
conference calls and Web conferences ensure that the information is exchanged promptly and questions addressed
Finally, international conference calling and Web video conferencing dramatically reduce travel costs and carbon
emissions due to the elimination of air travel. As you tally up the savings in these areas alone, a strong case
for these alternatives to physical meetings emerges.
Whether you're waiting for AT&T's Telepresence Solution to become a viable option for your organization or
want to start saving money on your international collaboration efforts, using today's existing technologies such
as video Web conferencing and international
conference calling is a smart move you can begin using right now.
Emerging telepresence technologies are coming with full-size, HD video for realistic, virtual meetings around the
globe. However, existing international conference
calling and video Web conferencing technologies also facilitate global collaboration and deliver similar benefits
while saving you money on international travel.
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