Tandberg Unshackles High-End Video Conferencing with T3 Custom Edition

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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It used to be that if you wanted highly immersive telepresence you had to go with a standard board room setting of a table and chairs with a fixed number of participants. Now Tandberg has freed its high-end video conferencing from the confines of the board room, enabling solution provider channel partners to design rooms with alternate uses, such as a virtual fashion runway or a collaboration suite for designers.

Tandberg (OSL:TAA) is unshackling its high-end telepresence video conferencing system from the confines of the board room.

The video conferencing giant, which is in play as a Cisco acquisition, is offering a "custom" version of its T3 telepresence system. The high-end T3 telepresence system normally is packaged with all the accoutrements of a board room, including table and chairs and blue-lit walls.

But the T3 Custom Edition telepresence is packaged just with the components for HD video conferencing, says Jerry Monroe, Tandberg’s director of telepresence. That may even make it a better proposition for reseller channel partners and solution providers.

That’s because partners can then take the HD video conferencing components and package them with other room elements to suit the needs of the customer. Extra design work and integration would be required.

"We see this moving from telepresence to a telepresence-enabling technology that our partners can use to be very creative," says Monroe. "We think it will gain wide popularity. We see it being potentially explosive in the future."

For example, says Monroe, one clothing designer customer had requested a virtual runway rather than the conventional telepresence room. Such a virtual runway would let potential clothing buyers view the new designs from a distance rather than gather at a fashion show and incur travel costs.

"This T3 Custom Edition enables more collaborative settings rather than a formal board room, but still with the immersive feeling to it," says Monroe. He adds that other collaborative settings may also be a good fit for T3 Custom Edition. Specifically, design and research and development teams could create collaboration rooms that include digital collaboration tools.

"From our perspective, we don’t want to re-create all the great collaborative tools that are out there," says Monroe. "We just want to have them be able to work in a telepresence setting."

Rooms could also be equipped to hold more than just six or eight participants. For example, rooms with rows of seats could be set up if the intention of the telepresence room was to provide distance learning.

Monroe notes that Tandberg VARs will need to get some training of their own to provide maintenance and support of the T3 Custom Edition systems once they are installed. Attaining certifications will be required, and employees will need to attend training at one of Tandberg’s training facilities—in the United States in Reston, Va., or Pleasanton, Calif.

Two certifications are available—installation and maintenance. The installation and maintenance certifications require technical staff members to go through formal training that includes a week of on-site training at Tandberg facilities and then two ride-along events. For a business to be certified, two staff members must attain certification.

Separately, a managed services certification is available as well.

Tandberg’s T3 Custom Edition includes three Tandberg C90 codecs, three HD cameras and the telepresence control unit. Partners determine the sizes and types of displays, audio, speakers and microphones. Monroe notes that T3 Custom Edition works with Tandberg’s telepresence server that enables multipoint telepresence. In addition, a development kit enables integration partners to design for the system. 

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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