Skip to main content

Retailers Upbeat About TelePresence Applications

Companies with extended supply chains frequently need to collaborate with multiple partners -- simultaneously and visually. Yesterday at the National Retail Federation Conference in New York, AT&T and Cisco reminded attendees that they have added multipoint capabilities to their telepresence offering, which AT&T delivers as a managed service.

Attendees visiting AT&T's booth participated in videoconferencing discussions with Cisco employees in San Jose, and expressed confidence that they could apply the teleconferencing capabilities in their business immediately. Collin Cupid of high-end handbags and accessories manufacturer Coach said, "It made you feel like everybody's in the same room."

Sally Curtis of Planet Retail, a market research firm, said, "We can use this in our own context for communicating with customers. It's absolutely real." A couple of executives from United Rentals wanted an installation "yesterday," but were willing to settle for getting the equipment from the show floor. "Can we take that one right now?" asked Michael Ellis.

According to the companies, the AT&T Telepresence Solution works over the AT&T Virtual Private Network transport and provides:
  • AT&T-owned Cisco TelePresence equipment
  • Visual experience with the simplicity of a phone call
  • Installation, monitoring and management of the application
  • On-site equipment maintenance and repair, plus remote support
  • Ability to handle complex, multinational, inter-company communications
  • Security and reliability, as well as reduced IT staff requirements and limited impact on existing network applications
  • Reduced exposure to technological obsolescence, reduced upfront capital expenditure
Global companies with extended supply chains can use telepresence to improve communications and accelerate time-to-market. They can also apply the visual medium to transcend cross-cultural communication hurdles, and thereby improve the speed of decision-making and overall operational efficiency.