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American Express offers telepresence advice service

September 30, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
american express pic.png
By Stuart Corner via iTWire

American Express Business Travel has launched a telepresence advisory service designed to help its customers avail themselves of publicly accessible Cisco TelePresence facilities around the world. For the services, called virtual meetings eXpert, American Express Business Travel is working with Cisco, Tata Communications and global serviced office provider Regus all of which provide publicly accessible telepresence suites using Cisco equipment.

virtual meetings eXpert's advisors are able to advice clients where facilities are available, which ones can be interconnected and if necessary make bookings for these facilities.

Danielle Puceta, director of meetings for American Express Business Travel, told ExchangeDaily that, at present, bookings were made manually over the phone but down the track the company hoped to implement online bookings.

The service also extends to incorporating clients' own TelePresence rooms into conferences with public facilities "For larger customers that have invested in their own [TelePresence] inventory we could help them manage that," Puceta said. "For example if a client has 20 Cisco Telepresence rooms, their IT department would know what they can connect with and we can take that information and help people make those connections."

She added that, at present, the partnerships with Cisco, Tata and Regus covered most of the publicly available TelePresence suites, but other partnerships could be formed as more become available.

"Anyone who offers public TelePresence is someone we could partner with, but most of the public ones available today are covered by the partnerships we have...the public inventory is growing: it is about 30-40 rooms worldwide."

The virtual meeting eXpert service will also be expanded to include a portal that will enable clients to make informed decisions about whether to meet in person versus using telepresence services or other virtual meetings technology. In doing this, it will analyse criteria such as price, duration of the trip, purpose and environmental impact.

American Express Business Travel has also created an educational and informational website that, it says, "offers guidance for building a business case by walking through key scenarios demonstrating the benefits - cost savings, productivity savings and others. Advice and tips are also provided throughout. Additionally, the site features a variety of content including articles, demos and case studies."

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