Telepresence interoperability tests bode well for Cisco

Interoperability issues, one of the downsides of Cisco telepresence, could fade in the background with the company's purchase of Tandberg based on public interoperability tests this week.

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Three vendors – LifeSize, Polycom and Tandberg – conducted live telepresence meetings that used all three vendors' gear at once during the fall Internet2 meeting in San Antonio.

The meetings, using the high-speed Internet2 network as a backbone, blended one-, two- and three-screen telepresence equipment onto a single conference. Participating systems were as far flung as Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Portugal and Texas.

Once Cisco closes its $3 billion deal to buy Tandberg, its customers will be able to join such telepresence sessions with what will then be Cisco equipment. That interoperability will likely be extended to Cisco's current equipment, says Henry Dewing, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"Cisco needs to pursue open standards," Dewing says. "The key here is going to be to continue work that I see Tandberg leading right now."

The demonstration at Internet2 was prompted by a challenge issued at the last Internet2 meeting six months ago, according to a Polycom spokesperson. During a session on telepresence, attendees were concerned that interoperability was lagging and standing in the way of wider spread adoption of the technology. They called for a demonstration of telepresence sessions among vendors equipment.

LifeSize, Polycom and Tandberg got together in the meantime to organize the compatibility demonstration, the spokesperson says.

This story, "Telepresence interoperability tests bode well for Cisco" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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