SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


John Bartlett
John Bartlett is a leading authority on real-time traffic, application performance and Quality of Service (QoS) techniques. He specializes in...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



John Bartlett | April 10, 2008 |

 
   

Telepresence: It's Not That Expensive

Telepresence: It's Not That Expensive Part of the ongoing conversation about telepresence is about its high cost, which includes both the initial cost of the telepresence suites or endpoints, and the ongoing cost of the network and services to support it. Telepresence suites can cost $300K plus, and the cost of the service and network can be as much as $18K/month per location. Ouch. But let's take a look at what this really means to the enterprise.

Part of the ongoing conversation about telepresence is about its high cost, which includes both the initial cost of the telepresence suites or endpoints, and the ongoing cost of the network and services to support it. Telepresence suites can cost $300K plus, and the cost of the service and network can be as much as $18K/month per location. Ouch. But let's take a look at what this really means to the enterprise.

Part of the ongoing conversation about telepresence is about its high cost, which includes both the initial cost of the telepresence suites or endpoints, and the ongoing cost of the network and services to support it. Telepresence suites can cost $300K plus, and the cost of the service and network can be as much as $18K/month per location. Ouch. But let's take a look at what this really means to the enterprise.In my conversations with enterprises I am finding out that a quality telepresence installation is in high demand. Hewlett Packard told me their internal rooms that have been in place for six months or so (so that their users have discovered them) are being used 9 and 10 hours a day. Employees come in early to talk to colleagues in Europe, and stay late to have meetings with colleagues in Asia. These are big numbers. In traditional video conferencing installations we most frequently see rooms that are used both for regular meetings as well as for video, and the video is only in use a few times a week.

Andrew Davis of Wainhouse Research did some direct analysis on this topic, using primary research data he collected from enterprises. Here is a graph he presented at VoiceCon in Orlando last month:

So here the conclusion is that telepresence is cheaper by the hour than traditional video conferencing. A quick backwards calculation shows that Andrew's assumption for telepresence room use is only on the order of 6 hours a day, not the 9 or 10 I talked about above. Still this shows that telepresence rooms are much more highly utilized than traditional video setups.

Now the numbers above are also calculated using $8,000/month as the operating cost instead of the $18,000 I quoted above. If the costs were really $18,000 it would add $90/hour to the telepresence usage cost. One of the readers of my last post said they eliminated their telepresence rooms because of the high cost of the network. So let's take a look at this component and see how it can be addressed.

The key requirement is to put in place sufficient bandwidth for the telepresence traffic, above and beyond what was required by the business before telepresence was installed. The WAN service with the best offerings in this space today is MPLS based with clear SLAs that address the need for video to have very low loss and jitter, and latency that is reasonable given the geographic distances involved. Unfortunately, the cost of this bandwidth can vary widely across geographic regions around the world.

The first logical approach is to find a WAN service provider with a sufficiently large footprint to be able to supply service to all the enterprise locations of interest. If a company is primarily based in North America, Europe and key developed locations in Asia, this may be a good and cost effective solution. If the company goes further afield and includes locations where telecom is still highly regulated, the costs may jump up. Additionally the enterprise may find that certain carriers have good coverage for portions of their needs but not such good coverage in other regions. These carriers may offer partnering agreements with additional service providers, but now you are crossing from network to network, and getting a real guarantee on the traffic quality and QoS parameters is hard and potentially expensive.

Where a problem like this exists, there is usually an entrepreneur providing an answer, and in this case one of the solutions comes from a Toronto-based company called IPV Gateways. These folks provide a switching service that will connect two or more WAN service provider backbones and maintain the QoS across that connection. Think of them as a high quality peering point between dedicated enterprise VPNs on multiple carriers. This kind of service, and I am sure others will develop, will help make high quality high bandwidth pricing more transparent by allowing enterprises to pick the best carrier in each geography, and bridge between them to support video across the enterprise.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

February 22, 2017

Sick of video call technology that make participants look like they're in the witness protection program? Turns out youre not alone. Poor-quality video solutions can give users an unprofessional ap

March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.