When Cisco announced its first TelePresence product in October of 2006, no one knew whether the idea of face-to-face videoconferencing would ever catch on. This week, it became evident that the TelePresence concept has indeed caught on as Bank of America said it will install 200 Cisco TelePresence units by the end of the year.
The bank is already using 28 units, so the idea of adding more isn't an alien concept at the bank, which has far flung global operations.
The Bank of America contract calls for Cisco to install a range of TelePresence products in which participants appear as life-sized images around virtual conference tables. Although in different locations, the participants are intended to feel as if they are all sitting in the same room.
The bank plans to use TelePresence in a variety of ways. Smaller configurations will enable business meetings with up to six participants per room and another for up to 18 people. On the high end, participants in 48 locations can meet in a single session.
Cisco is employing a managed service approach to its Bank of America contract in which Cisco will install, support, refresh and maintain the TelePresence gear. Active monitoring, technical support, and concierge service will also be provided by Cisco.
"The technology also will help associates better manage work-life balance by providing flexible meeting options and in some cases reducing the need to travel," said the bank's chief technology officer Marc Gordon in a statement. "When TelePresence helps reduce travel, it also supports our commitment to address climate change."
Cisco this week also announced that its planned $3.4 billion acquisition of videoconferencing provider Tandberg has been cleared by U.S. and European regulators provided Cisco makes some minor concessions and tweaks to its gear. Cisco said it will appoint an independent monitor to oversee interoperability enhancements to its gear that will help connections with competitive products.