AT&T equips InterContinental Hotels Group with telepresence

If recent endeavors by Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), among others, had you thinking that the telepresence opportunity was shifting to the residential market, an announcement this week from AT&T (NYSE: T) should remind you that the business market is a much safer bet, and where the technology is having the most impact.

AT&T and InterContinental Hotels Group (NYSE: IHG) said this week that they have set up two new telepresence rooms at IHG offices in Atlanta and London.  As a hospitality group, IHG may understand the benefits of telepresence better than some companies-the potential  to increase regional collaboration and employee productivity, while cutting down on business travel costs (and, ironically, expensive hotel stays), as well as planet-choking carbon emissions.

AT&T Telepresence Solution

Diagram of AT&T's Telepresence Solution, from its product brochure.

AT&T said its AT&T Business Exchange offering now has more than 2,400 on-net telepresence end points throughout the world, in use by more than 120 companies.

The announcement comes a day after AT&T unveiled an online Carbon Impact Assessment Tool to help businesses measure their own carbon footprint, then get advice on how to reduce its with the help of AT&T services-namely telepresence services. In addition to marketing telepresence on the basis of employee productivity and travel cost benefits, AT&T seems to be incresasingly interested in oplaying the environmental card.

For example, in its telepresence announcement with IHG, it noted that a recent study, "The Telepresence Revolution," commissioned by the Carbon Disclosure Project, said that telepresence can cut carbon emissions by almost 5.5 million metric tons, and create economy-wide financial benefits of almost $19 billion by 2020. AT&T said its own use of telepresence helped it cut its carbon emissions by more than 2,500 metric tons last year, while helping the company save more than $4.1 million in business travel costs.

For more:
- here's the AT&T press release

Related articles:
AT&T just rolled out a carbon assessment tool
The videoconferencing market will near $4 billion by 2016
Comcast is developing a residential telepresence offering

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