Verizon, BT establish global telepresence agreement

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and BT (NYSE: BT) are the latest global service providers that have come together to help make video conferencing become as common as voice service, and their latest agreement to extend their telepresence services across their respective network domains reflects that trend.

Through the new agreement, Verizon's and BT's enterprise customers will be able to conduct video conferencing sessions with one another using Cisco's (Nasdaq: CSCO) TelePresence solutions.

"BT and Verizon are creating an interexchange between our two B2B video exchange environments," said Jeff Cayer, Group Manager, Visual Communications, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "What that really means in the past was that Verizon customers could reach Verizon customers and BT customers could reach BT customers, but with these two carrier interconnections we're building bridges among the different islands."

While Cisco is the initial telepresence platform for this agreement, the two service providers said they will be announcing support for other vendor's telepresence gear over time.

"This is the initial foray and we have talked about making additional platforms and technology enhancements and adjustments, but today we're focusing on Cisco's platform," said Marc Hambley, senior product manager, BT Conferencing. "We do embrace the idea of a broader video community and we want to support that."

Current Verizon and BT telepresence customers will be able to leverage the same interface they already use with common scheduling, support, security and encryption.

Customers will also have access to a directory to see what other businesses are already registered and can conduct intercarrier telepresence meetings, and the location of these sites. To maintain a consistent look, BT and Verizon customers will be able to contact their respective provider for support, assistance and billing.

This latest telepresence agreement between these two carriers comes during a flurry of intercarrier telepresence partnerships.

In addition to AT&T's telepresence agreement with Orange announced earlier this month, Tata Communications led the development of the new Global Meeting Alliance.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Tata Communications helps form global telepresence group
AT&T, BT, Tata dial up first inter-carrier telepresence call
Verizon establishes partnership with Tata to extend its telepresence reach
Sprint to extend Tata videoconferencing services to enterprise customers

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