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Movistar eyes telepresence opportunities
By Patrick Nixon / Business News Americas
The tough financial year 2009 has boosted adoption and use of the telepresence solution offered by Spanish telecoms operator Movistar in Latin America, according to Claudio Munoz, president of the company's enterprise unit Movistar Empresas.
Speaking from Madrid to press in Chile via a telepresence conference, Munoz said Movistar, which deploys the solution using the telepresence technology of Cisco Systems, now has global customers such as energy group Endesa and Santander bank.
The main benefits of telepresence are reduction in travel expenses, increased productivity of executives who spend less time traveling and the reduction of the carbon footprint due to less air travel.
According to Munoz, Movistar calculates that through using telepresence and traveling less, the company brings a reduction of about 10,000 tonnes of CO2 gases per year.
"The carbon footprint is sooner or later going to be a competitive factor in global markets. So any way of containing gas emissions will become critical," Muñoz said.
Consultancy Gartner forecasts that in the next three years, high quality video conferencing systems will enable companies to use 2.1mn less seats worldwide and see savings in business trips worth US$3.5bn.
Companies installing a telepresence room can recover their investment in six months if one considers the cost reduction and increased productivity.
MOVING TOWARD BECOMING A PUBLIC SERVICE
While telepresence has to date been seen only for corporate use, Movistar believes the solution could be applied to many areas of the public sector for training or for tele-medicine, for example.
Currently some 20Mbps of dedicated bandwidth is needed to support a telepresence meeting room with three screens. Additional bandwidth may be needed as the technology evolves with more multi media or interactive functionalities are added, to be able to study medical records, for example.
Movistar parent Telefonica has 16 telepresence rooms in its operations worldwide. In Latin America, they are found in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, as well as in Miami. In Europe they are found in the UK, Germany, Rome and Milan (Italy), Barcelona and in three such rooms in Madrid.
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