An agreement between Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems and AT&T means that T-Systems Telepresence customers can use the Cross Company Exchange Service, which connects Telepresence services from different providers, to also talk to customers using AT&T’s solution. This latest agreement builds on T-Systems existing arrangement with Tata Communications, enabling the company to offer global connectivity to its video customers.
Telepresence enables the transmission of life-size pictures, high-quality audio and high definition video to create the atmosphere of a real meeting. It gives participants the feeling that they are sitting in the same room together – even though they could be thousands of miles apart. As in real meetings, participants can communicate using presentations or documents. All data traffic between conference participants is secure and encrypted.
Review: I remember when I first started writing about green ICT, more than six years ago now, we were just starting to see the beginnings of what became Telepresence. Back then it was still pretty clunky, but you could see where it was going. It rapidly developed into a real alternative to business travel and became a shining example of how ICT could reduce carbon emissions. It was the main example of dematerialisation - the substitution of high carbon products and activities with low carbon alternatives – quoted in the Smart 2020 report (recently updated).
T-Systems also tries to make the point that video conferences produce fewer carbon emissions. The press release says that a trip from Munich to Hamburg by train generates 124 kg of CO2 per person, by plane it's as much as 471 kg. But a comparable figure for Telepresence would have been useful - videoconferencing is not CO2 free!