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Two Polycom RealPresence Experience High Definition (RPX HD) Telepresence conference rooms were opened recently at Vodacom's headquarters, in Johannesburg and Cape Town

December 8, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

polycom-rpx-hd-photo.jpgTwo Polycom RealPresence Experience High Definition (RPX HD) conference rooms were opened recently at Vodacom's headquarters, in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Vodacom has partnered with Polycom distributor Kathea to bring Polycom's High-Definition Telepresence technology to South Africa.

David Stirling, Polycom business development director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, says: "Polycom has deployed 200 of these solutions globally. It can be run on a NPLS network over a converged model and can also adjust itself to multiple bandwidths."

The system will allow Vodacom to communicate directly with other businesses around the world as it expands. In addition, Vodacom plans to eventually hire out the rooms for corporates to utilise the technology.

The demonstration featured a real-time video and audio streaming of a conference between Johannesburg and Cape Town. "This is the shortest trip you'll ever make to Cape Town," says Andrew Hug, VP of sales engineering for Polycom Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Hug says RPX HD gives a completely 'immersive' experience as it gives the illusion all the delegates are sitting in the same room, even though they might be continents apart.

According to Ray McGroarty, Polycom solutions marketing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, RPX HD takes traditional video conferencing to the next level, as it creates a realistic in-person meeting experience with true-to-life dimensions, which was not possible in the past.

RPX HD has one large window split into two-screens, while its built-in projectors, cameras, microphones and speakers are concealed. Full-colour touch-screen panels are fitted into the desks and control video dialling, audio and have a direct link to the managed services help-desk. Business presentations can be viewed on the panels.

The rooms are scalable as the suites can be designed to seat between four to 28 people. The rooms are identically designed as they are built to a specific size, and have the same furniture and light fittings to create a symmetrical appearance.

Hug points out that the solution is bandwidth-hungry technology. "The biggest issue facing an emerging market, such as South Africa, is bandwidth availability and cost. For full High-Definition video quality, the technology runs at 10Mbps across both screens, but this can be customised and lowered while sacrificing video quality.

"Bandwidth can be reduced by 90% down to 1Mbps. The video quality will be reduced, but the audio, which has the highest priority, will still have high quality," Hug added.

Hug believes, following the laying of undersea fibre optic cables in 2009, bandwidth will become more ubiquitous in South Africa and RPX HD will become sought-after business collaboration tool.

[via VCInsight]

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