Face-to-face contact counts for everything in Chinese business, we are told. But does that still hold if your partner's face is only visible via a giant giant plasma screen? AT&T believes so and is bringing its telepresence solution to China to allow companies to connect to their customers, suppliers and partners worldwide using videoconferencing.
Videoconferencing is hardly new, of course. But the high-definition “fully-immersive” solutions offered by the likes of Cisco are light years ahead of the primitive videoconferencing systems of a decade ago.
The AT&T telepresence offering is based on Cisco's TelePresence technology and comes in single or three-screen versions. AT&T's role is to install, monitor and manage the system, as well as provide remote help desk service and on-site maintenance.
The availability of the AT&T telepresence solution in China is part of AT&T's recently announced US$1bn planned global network and portfolio investment for 2009 and extends the availability of the service to 25 countries globally.