AT&T strikes telepresence deal with Cisco

AT&T has agreed to resell Cisco Systems' telepresence videoconferencing gear, a partnership that could represent a key step forward for the much-hyped, but also very expensive life-like virtual meeting technology. More significant than the resale agreement itself may be AT&T's commitment to allow inter-connection between one telepresence and any other, even if AT&T is not the service provider supporting the other telepresence room.

Cisco has heavily promoted telepresence, and with Nortel Networks as its prime competitor, has gradually established a market foothold. The company recently said it had closed it 500th order for telepresence equipment. However, videoconferencing has never quite become the mainstream sort of communications mode many people hoped, and inter-system connectivity flexibility may have more to do with that shortcoming than any other factor. In a time of travel chaos and a sluggish economy, can telepresence, the latest videoconferencing evolution, break through and change how corporate customers communicate?

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