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UPDATED - HP Halo Announces Alliance with Marriott, New telepresence system, New Customers

March 16, 2008 | Howard Lichtman
hp_marriot_preview.jpgThis morning, HP Halo has announced an alliance with Marriott to make HP Halo telepresence systems publicly available at Marriott properties. HP Halo also announced the new customers AstraZeneca, Dow Chemical and Toshiba, who are now available on the HP Halo Video Exchange Network (HVEN), which now extends to 22 countries on 5 continents. The new announcements from HP do not end there; they now offer a new executive / small group telepresence system called The HP Halo Collaboration Center. On top of all of this good news, HP revealed that 80% of HP Halo clients have purchased additional systems. After the jump, get Human Productivity Lab President Howard Lichtman's thoughts and analysis on the announcement.

New HP Telepresence System - The HP Halo Collaboration Center

HP has announced a new executive / small group telepresence system that seats 2-4 participants and compliments their HP Halo Collaboration Studio (.pdf) and HP Halo Meeting Room (.pdf) telepresence offerings. The Collaboration Center has a price tag of $120,000 with monthly recurring charges of $12,000 (network bandwidth, concierge class reservations and support, field maintenance, and technology refresh/upgrades). The new system is completely compatible with the other HP telepresence products. Below is a side profile of the new unit:


New Customers, Returning Customers


HP also announced that AstraZeneca, Dow Chemical and Toshiba are now Halo customers. These companies join ABN-AMRO, AIG, AMD, BHP Billiton, Canon, DreamWorks and Pepsico on the Halo Video Exchange Network or HVEN. HP's HVEN is quickly becoming one of the largest telepresence Community of Interest Networks (CoINs) in the world. Telepresence systems connected to a CoIN allow for secure conferencing between members, thereby improving the utility of each company's telepresence deployment. With the HVEN, HP Halo customers can connect beyond their own internal locations to joint venture partners, vendors, and customers.

HP Halo and Marriott to Bring Telepresence to the Public

The biggest announcement of the day from HP was an alliance with Marriott that will locate publicly available HP Halo Meeting Rooms in Marriott properties around the world. Members of the HP Halo Network will soon be able to add certain Marriot locations to the list of available Halo endpoints available across the Halo Network. Existing HP Halo customers that find themselves on the road now have a cutting edge collaboration option. The deal is similar to an announcement that Cisco made in March 2007 that would locate publicly available Cisco TelePresence systems in Regus office spaces, which has yet to gain much altitude.

Howard Lichtman's Thoughts and Analysis

On paper, this deal looks great for Marriott who improves the capabilities and amenities of their hotels. This should also make Marriott the destination of choice for some percentage of HP's 156,000 global employees, not to mention the employees of AIG, AMD, DreamWorks, Pepsico, GE, etc who are also on the Halo Network. HP gets an international hospitality partner with a great brand� with superb properties in virtually every international gateway city in the world. While undoubtedly a win for both firms, the announcement raises more questions than it answers on how big a win it will be.

First, will these systems be located in retail areas of the hotel or will they be relegated to a conference room in the basement? One example of another great idea with unfortunate implementation is the publicly available Polycom RPX in the Waldorf-Astoria, NYC. It remains hidden in an old coat check, on a staff floor seldom visited by guests.

Additionally, where will Marriott come up with the physical space necessary for an HP Halo Meeting Room in each property? Consider that most of the existing conference space in hotels is reserved well in advance by large conferences or conventions. With a good sales team, the hotel will book the same conference every year, reserving the use of the available conference room. Does this include the Halo room? Does this preclude others from using it?

Finally, how much will the service cost? Will Halo time at the Marriot carry the same inflated price tags loathed on the room service menu? Plus, the value of being connected via telepresence goes up dramatically under certain circumstances (natural disasters, SARS, terrorism, false flag terrorism, bio terrorism, mergers, acquisitions, bailouts, work-outs, IPOs, war, currency crisis, etc.). Will companies be able to contract for a set amount of time each month? Lock up the prime time meeting slots? I know some commission driven mercenaries at Sungard that could pre-sell guaranteed access to a publicly available telepresence network in a disaster all day long.

Full disclosure: I am biased. I believe public availability is the killer app for telepresence and the most profitable opportunity in the industry. The lab has its own multi-vendor business model for publicly available telepresence, Powwow Virtual, for which we are seeking partners and investment.

On the new HP Halo Collaboration Center...

What we like:

  • Lower price point, smaller foot print
  • International reliability
  • Collaboration channel
  • HP GUI
  • Publicly available Halo Meeting Rooms at Marriott.

What we dont like:

    • Small display
    • The price - $120,000 upfront and $12,000 per month domestically.

Comparing Halo to its competition in the telepresence and high definition videoconferencing space, it is obvious that customers will be paying a premium for the HP Halo Collaboration Center.


While potential customers are buying more than the physical product, the cost difference between competitive offerings is vast. In HP's defense the company builds periodic technology refreshes into its pricing. Moving all the early HP Halo clients to multi-point for free is one example and, when the deal with Marriott gets off the ground, access to a growing network of publicly available locations will be another.

Organizations looking to invest in telepresence are investing as much or more in the vendor's business and technology roadmap as in the existing technology and capabilities. This is a textbook example of the balancing act organizations have to decide upon before making an informed telepresence decision.

See our Telepresence Buyer's Guide for more details.

On the HP HVEN - Halo's Telepresence Community of Interest Network (CoIN)

HP Halo's continued expansion of their Halo Video Exchange Network / Telepresence CoIN deserves recognition.

The Human Productivity Lab's recipe for a successful telepresence CoIN is:

Technology + Security + Culture Change + Marketing + Public Availability

HP is doing a better job in the kitchen than anyone in the industry right now. While the telepresence CoIN concept is still in its infancy and many of Halo's initial clients are scattered across too many diverse, unrelated industries take full advantage, HP is slowly building a tier-one network of Fortune 500 clients that are starting to connect more and more. HP itself is probably the best example with technology partners AMD and DreamWorks "right down the hall." More importantly they have gotten the overwhelming majority of their customers to buy into the concept allowing themselves and their corporate logos to be listed as members of the Halo Network. No small feat! While the Halo GUI still only lists three companies that can be connected ad-hoc (AMD, DreamWorks, and HP) all can be reached through the HP Halo concierge.

Congrats to HP and Marriott on what looks like a superb deal!

Other Publicly Available Telepresence Initiatives: Cisco and Regus, PangeAir lead by former TeleSuite / Destiny Conferencing Chairman David Allen that would locate telepresence systems in high end hotels and shared tenant office buildings. We interviewed PangeAir President Bob Briggs in January which can be found Here.

Telepresence Options Briefs:

The Telepresence Options Telegraph -


We have renamed The Art of Productivity, the HPL's occasional newsletter on telepresence and the telepresence industry, The Telepresence Options Telegraph. The newsletter has a new look, a more organized layout, and will be published on a more regular basis. We are up to 1732 subscribers and growing! Check out the new and improved Telegraph Here.

In our next issue we will be covering telepresence and the death of the dollar, a topic that we first covered in Telepresence, Effective Visual Collaboration, and the Future of Global Business at the Speed of Light. Quick Preview: Why smart organizations will be deploying telepresence to cut costs, get productive, and weather the storm that the death of the dollar is starting to inflict on global markets. Sign up Here to reserve your digital copy today!

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