AT&T looks to Cisco for edge in business videoconferencing

The telecommunications company said Monday it would look to Cisco's expertise in communications to create a high-end solution for the enterprise.

Cisco already has had a videoconferencing solution available for about two years called TelePresence, which features large high definition screens and is easy to use. However, the company lacks a sales force.

With AT&T that will change, and the companies would also work to allow videoconferencing across customers' domains. Right now TelePresence can only use those features within a customer's private office domain.

A launch for the new product is planned in nearly two dozen countries by the end of the year, with additional markets added through 2009. Instead of selling it as just equipment alone, it would be sold as a service, with support and connectivity included.

Fees for the service were not immediately disclosed.

"AT&T is the first provider of a complete inter-company solution based on our TelePresence system, using the IP network as a platform," Cisco emerging technologies chief Marthin De Beer said.

Currently Cisco counts some 750 clients of its system across the enterprise, according to press materials. While the original version of the system cost some $300,000, the AT&T version would include a cheaper model.

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