British Telecom and AT&T have launched one of the world’s largest telepresence networks, following successful trials conducted earlier this year.
The pair claim the service is the first interoperable exchange for telepresence, and will allow business customers to schedule meetings and connect via Cisco endpoints.
Meeting support, assistance and billing will be handled by customers' individual service providers, and the operators plan to introduce a directory to help users determine which other organizations can be contacted through the connection.
Current Analysys analyst Brian Washburn said the launch is a milestone for the industry.
“Exchange-to-exchange telepresence is a major stride forward in building smooth, end-to-end telepresence experiences for customers across network boundaries worldwide,” he said.
Uptake of telepresence to-date has been hampered by a lack of interoperability, despite growing interest in the service by firms looking to cut their carbon footprint, FT.com noted.
AT&T and BT together operate 2,000 telepresence rooms, 1,100 of which will be available to business users, the newspaper said.
BT is also developing a joint telepresence service with India’s Tata Comm, while France Telecom’s Orange has also revealed plans for interoperable services.