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HP Debuts Lower-Cost Telepresence System

Hewlett-Packard hopes to jumpstart demand for telepresence centers by introducing a two-seat, office-size version at half the price of its existing offerings.The HP Halo Collaboration Center consists of two or four chairs, a table and walls, a high-def video camera, large monitor, and various pieces of support equipment. It can be set up in a space as small as a conference room or an executive office. One room's worth of hardware will start at $120,000, plus a monthly $12,000 service fee.

Ken Crangle, general manager for HP's telepresence offerings, said the company's Halo products were "originally designed for larger teams." In 2005, HP announced the Halo Collaboration Studio, with seating for up to 14 people; that system now costs $349,000. Last year saw the introduction of the HP Halo Collaboration Meeting Room at $249,000. Crangle said, "We are seeing people using [the systems] more for one-on-one, two-on-one meetings." The new product addresses that market.

If that still sounds too steep, HP also plans to make telepresence rooms available on a pay-per-use basis inside Marriott hotels. That would enable companies that only had one Halo room to still have teleconferences with their traveling employees and would give smaller businesses a way to conduct video conferences with enterprise partners and clients.The Register, Computerworld