In what is a really interesting development, global travel company Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) is to partner with Tata Communications to provide Telepresence facilities. TelePresence is the Cisco high-definition videconferencing capability that tries to emulate a face-to-face meeting.
CWT clients will be able to access Tata Communications’ global network of public Cisco TelePresence suites. They will also have access to Tata’s Global Meeting Exchange (GMX), which supports sessions between any Cisco TelePresence rooms (public or private), irrespective of the network service provider.
The CWT’s Telepresence service will help customers in determining if and when a virtual meeting meets their business needs and will manage the process from reservation through to reporting on adoption of the service and related cost savings. It’s part of a wide range of travel-related services the company is now offering, ranging from organising meetings and events, implementing best practice, advising on travel policy, etc.
"CWT recognizes the intense pressure corporations are under to contain rising Travel and Entertainment costs and maximize return on investment," said Pauline Quéré, CWT vice president, Customer Product Marketing. "By incorporating Telepresence into the full range of products and services in our demand management offering, CWT provides a compelling alternative and solidifies its role as a key partner in helping clients demonstrate measurable return on investment."
The difference is that services to date have been travel–related, whilst this is an alternative to travel. It sends out a very clear message when a travel company feels that providing a service that is an alternative to its core business is a worthy investment. There must be a lot of companies reducing or avoiding travel and they’re not all going to go back to the old ways.