BT to launch telepresence service in September

U.K. telco giant BT is set to bring Cisco Systems' telepresence to market as part of a unified communications offering this September. BT's service commitment comes shortly after AT&T said it was planning a telepresence service using the Cisco gear. However, BT's interest in the service was apparent almost a year ago at NXTcomm 2007 in Chicago when Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers noted that BT was among the very first carriers to be certified to support Cisco telepresence gear.

As with AT&T's service, BT plans to offer inter-company telepresence communications from the beginning, meaning one corporate customer's telepresence platform can communicate with another's. That takes videoconferencing's advantages beyond the traditional internal cost savings and into the realm of being a critical tool for forming and maintaining business relationships. While Cisco and its two most notable carrier partners have been pushing inter-company service, interoperability between telepresence systems from different vendors remains a challenge.

Speaking of unified communications, NXTcomm, BT and telepresence, you really should plan to attend the FierceVoIP and FierceTelecom Unified Communications Summit being held on the afternoons June 18 and June 19 at NXTcomm 2008 in Las Vegas. Mark Summerson, general manager of unified communications at BT Global Services, will present a keynote speech.

For more:
- see this story about BT's offering at Light Reading
- read this article about interoperability at Telephony