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Telepresence Industry Professionals Discussion: What is Currently Missing to Enable B2B Telepresence Interconnect

March 17, 2009 | Howard Lichtman
Bruno Castejon: I'd like to have your opinions on what is currently missing to enable BtoB Telepresence interconnect?

nico_hofman_linkedin.jpgNico Hofman: We are in the process of starting a project for B2B Bridging and according to me the most important thing that I currently miss is an "Internet" like network (of course with Quality of Service in it.) What I mean with this is that the Network providers should offer a global network where we can Bridge to so the integration of 3rd party network providers or customers with Telepresence equipment is not a customer issue but a provider issue. Currently, I see only providers bridging internally in their own global network and not with others.

I understand that it will not be easy to do so but with Internet it was possible why not with a World Wide Telepresence NET.

Furthermore, I think that we shouldn't be charged on a minute or hourly rate for using the bridging because it is to complicated and preventing customer for using the B2B bridging. Furthermore I think that first Bridge users (Customers) should be awarded for their initiatives, innovative behavior and not discouraged by high costs especially in these economic difficult times. We need to have the masses exited to use the B2B which will result anyhow in more business for the providers of B2B solutions.

Your comments are more then welcome.

JD_Vaughn.jpgJD Vaughn: Clearly we can connect via network service providers once we have all agreed to a standards based screen format. There needs to be a standards based initiative with key Global 9000 customer/end user supporting (demanding) interoperability.

Howard_Lichtman_linkedin.jpgHoward S. Lichtman: Hi Bruno, I have written a little on this and thought a great deal. The short answer to your question is an updated/modified version of our recipe for a successful Telepresence Community of Interest Network (CoIN):

Technology + Security + Culture Change + Marketing + Public Availability + Ease-of-Use (Reduce the # of calls/approvals to identify availability/schedule remote room participation in disparate organizations with (often) disparate systems & facilitate FW transversal / system interoperability) + SECRET INGREDIENT ;-).

The rest would be a consulting engagement... :-)
Michael_Boscia.jpgMichael Boscia: First, we need to define what you mean by Telepresence.

Are you referring to the more general term used to describe "Immersive Visual Collaborative Technologies"?


Are you talking about a specific vendor offering of HD Visual Comms?

From the Cisco Telepresence standpoint, as mentioned by Nico, there are several Service Provider offerings that allow different enterprises to communicate without building P2P private links between organizations. The challenge is that to the best of my knowledge the different SPs (VzB, TATA, BT-Masergy/ AT&T/etc) do not peer, so customers are limited to their Service Provider's "Island" of Telepresence.

I would think that it would behoove the SPs to figure out a way to peer together, since the implications of being able to communicate inter-enterprise regardless of the WAN transport would really drive more people to purchase these technologies and therefore upgrade their circuits.

The key here is more revenue for everyone, its just a matter of getting all those involved to see the opportunity.

Galeal_Zino.jpgGaleal (Gil) Zino: Without all TP vendors interoperating out of the box, it puts the burden on SPs and third-party vendors. This is not just signaling and media interop, but the end-to-end user experience from scheduling to completion. SPs will peer in time.

Nico Hofman: All, Thanks for your comments.

Michael I fully agree with your statement that SP's need to peer and to remove as quickly as possible these "Islands" of Telepresence.

The main question in this is how can we wake-up the SP's to do this a.s.a.p. I hope that this forum will help by making them aware of the issues and you and others in this discussion are making already the first steps in that direction.

From a customer perspective we don't want these Islands we want to do HD Video Conferencing with our Suppliers and Customers and not have the burdon on integration of different SP's.

As a Service Delivery Manager and Project Manager for B2B Bridging will push in this direction otherwise the business case for B2B is to limited.

PS. For all the Service Providers;
START PEERING NOW and deliver today.

Galeal (Gil) Zino: Nico: Tata's goal is open peering, contact me if you want to discuss.

Peter_Brockmann.jpgPeter Brockmann:  Bruno: You should check out . They've mastered the multi-megabit secure ad hoc telepresence network interconnect. I've written about this in my blog: .

I don't know how user A's sites address user B's sites, but I'm sure they can tell you more. Let me know if you need an introduction.

Nelson_Perez.jpgNelson M. Perez: 1. If I may throw one more comment into the pot; "Adherence to Standards". For there to be any form of intelligent communications, transmission technologies need to globally interact with each other. It makes little to no sense, for a fortune 500 to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into an infrastructure that only interacts with itself. Where would the Telephone be today if the devices in one company couldn't connect to devices of another company?

And as Mr. Lichtman stated in his comment, "Ease of Use". Ergonomics is another key to global acceptance of the Telepresence technology. You can teach a three year old how to make a phone call; why not a video call. Product designers need to design from the human's perspective. After all, aren't they the ones we are trying to sell to?

Hyoun_Park.jpgHyoun Park: Telepresence is sold based on human factors, yet each vendor uses different combinations of software and hardware standards, point of view, audio, content delivery, and content interfaces. Simply solving an interconnect problem by using standards-based video won't solve the problem.

To echo everyone else, peering is the solution. It's a move that could provide exponential growth for telepresence, but requires buy-in from all the major players. Bruno, if you're serious, you should be talking with the individuals at companies like Teliris and Polycom that have also shown commitment to true telepresence standards.

Nelson_Perez.jpgNelson M. Perez: Mr. Park, Define Peering, as you see it.

As I see it, there are really two issues here:

1) Standards base inter-vendor communications is a Must! Otherwise the establishment of the required link (path), between sites is impossible. No matter how much horsepower you design into a video bridge or Telepresence endpoint, for that matter, "No standards, no inter-vendor connections.

2) As for the human factor, the industry has a long way to go before it achieves true Telepresence, peering or no peering. Think about what really happens when you walk into a conference room and you are face to face with your, live and in the flesh, colleagues, (no VTC, no Telepresence, etc.). There is currently nothing on the market today that has adhieved total transparancy between the the real thing and the electronic facsimile.

That said, there are several vendors out there who are on the bleeding edge in this industry and there efforts to adhieved true transparency with Telepresence surpasses that of the majority of the other players. Much of which has to do with the "Adherence to Standards".

Pat_Montani_TIP.jpgPat Montani: I think there are many things missing, bridges capable of handling the differences systems in a multi point call, directory structures that extend to all, but the biggest thing we see is what Hyaun park brought up and that is the ability to connect multiple networks and maintain quality and security. In short, carriers hate doing this and very rarely peer their networks. Telepresence will ride on hundreds of private networks over multiple carrier backbones. We saw this problem years ago in the video conferencing industry and rather than push the carriers to peer, we simply did it for them and parked the bridges in the same facility inorder to feed them large amounts of bandwidth from multiple networks. peering and maintaining quality is key, without it, well, we are now dealing with multiple screens, not just one., pat

Scott_Wilcoxen.jpgScott Wilcoxen: Lots of good content here folks. Everyone has got a valid point. Adhere to a globally recognized standard, understanding of how to handle differing geometries once communications are not an issue, directories, class of service mappings, dial plans all scratch the surface of what is needed.

I believe that video is following a similar trajectory to audio when each carrier tried to do it themselves. Most carrier's have no interest in interconnecting to each other. They largely see it as a land grab right now and he who gets the most customers, wins. I don't think it's a zero sum game, but trying to get carriers to connect these high bandwidth networks is not cheap or easy. Pat's got a great way to connect disparate networks, but there's still a gap in the clearinghouse concept of directory management, SIP registration, dial plan administration, opt-in vs. opt-out status, the list goes on.

This opens the need/opportunity for exchange services that the enterprises connects directly to since the carrier does not offer the service. This is what happened with IP Voice. As the market grows, the carriers buy up these exchange providers and make them part of their "wholesale" services and/or just suck them into an internal sourcing/provisioning group.

The longer term solution must be as simple as voice services. You buy the phone (TP room/HD endpoint, etc) and you get a phone number and dial tone from the service provider.
The phone number (URI) is unique and is made unique by the standards/engineering organization/process. DNS accomplishes this already and SIP registrars do the heavy lifting on the call control side.

The shift in telephony from islands to the global voice network came about through standards and carrier agreements. I see Bruno's point about a global TP overlay network, and HVEN is a great candidate for that, but customers will undoubtedly ask why their Masergy network isn't up to snuff.

Bruno, contact me if you're interested in a deeper discussion, but it's as Howard alludes to it's about CoINs. You need publicly reachable community services that can scale with the industry and allow for carriers/large customers to connect to via a variety of method (direct connection,encryption, firewall transversal, etc)

Wrap monitoring, reporting, directories and social collaboration into the registration process. Corporations don't like inbound IP calls, so a community service done right could provide a invisible "call back" feature when both end points are registered.

If you're looking for someone to spear head something like this, let me know. I've got just the person for you to speak with...

[via LinkedIn: Telepresence Industry Professionals group]

Telepresence Industry Professionals - Update


Telepresence Industry Professionals (TIP) is our telepresence industry association on Linked In which is now 3 folks shy of 600 members!  I like to call it "the telepresence industry's cool kids club" because so many of my favorite folks are on-board. The group is a superb venue for discussions like the one above.  There is a Jobs board for organizations looking for talent and for folks that are in the market for their next gig. Come on in! The water is great!     

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