PepsiCo to deploy telepresence from Cisco and BT globally

PepsiCo will deploy Cisco Telepresence systems in its major offices worldwide, joining a growing list of multinational companies relying on high-end videoconferencing to cut down on travel costs and improve worker collaboration, Cisco Systems Inc. and British Telecommunications announced today.

PepsiCo CIO Robert Dixon said in a statement that using telepresence "will reinvent the way we work" while cutting down on travel, which, in turn, improves productivity and reduces the company's environmental footprint.

"In this day and age, it's simply a smarter way of going about our business," he added. PepsiCo sells products from 18 different product lines in 200 countries and employs nearly 200,000 workers. PepsiCo is the parent of Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola and other brands.

Details on the PepsiCo deployment and costs were not divulged, but a single telepresence room can cost more than $250,000 for large HD displays, furnishings and lighting, not including operating costs. Some larger multinationals such as Procter and Gamble Co. (P&G) have installed dozens of full telepresence rooms, some large enough for more than a dozen people to join a teleconference in one location.

Last September, a P&G executive said the consumer products company had 70 telepresence rooms from Cisco installed over the past two years. With 138,000 workers in 80 countries, P&G estimated it had saved $4 for every $1 invested in the systems through savings in travel costs and improvements in productivity.

BT alreadys operates as a service provider for PepsiCo and will also provide high-level management services for the telepresence technology.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , send e-mail to or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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