Telepresence architecture implementation tips

Telepresence is still unexplored territory for most Indian organizations. We take a look at how you can effectively set up telepresence architecture.

Organizations opting to build inhouse telepresence architecture for ensuring face-to-face collaborations and meetings for participants from across different locations first need to decide on the model—CapEx (Capital Expense model) or OpEx (Operational Expense model). Once this has been finalized, there are multiple options to consider in terms of telepresence architectural requirements such as location and room size. There are multiple options on this front.

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Setting up private rooms: To begin with, an organization could build its own private rooms (CapEx or capital expense model) to house telepresence architecture. Then the organization has to decide if it wants to own the full telepresence core infrastructure [for example, deploy equipment such as Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch (CTMS)]. The other option is to implement a managed service – public rooms (OpEx) – where the core infrastructure for your telepresence architecture is managed by a service provider.

Combine private and public rooms: An organization could also use a combination of private and public rooms to support the needs of its customer base, with the help of telepresence architecture. For example, depending upon the organization's collaborative needs, it could purchase the room hardware via a CapEx and OpEx model of telepresence architecture. Initially, public room telepresence architecture could be used to gain insights about the usage patterns of video collaboration. Public rooms allow a pay-per-usage experience that does not require the upfront capital investment. These could be utilized before making a final decision on the choice of telepresence architecture. An advantage of going in for public rooms for telepresence architecture is that it provides endpoints, and hence a customer does not need to purchase private rooms for telepresence architecture in all locations. Organizations can also start out by implementing telepresence architecture for private rooms in one region (USA) and then utilize the telepresence architecture for public rooms in Asia (so they do not need to implement private rooms for telepresence architecture in Asia).

Finalize the location: The organization needs to determine where the rooms for implementation of telepresence architecture will be located. Typically, such telepresence architecture can be located at the largest offices and at places which require employees to communicate frequently. It's essential to allocate space to build the rooms for implementation of telepresence architecture – minimal space requirements are defined for the type of room being built. 

Room size: The organization also needs to determine the type of room that will be required in terms of screen size (that holds eight people versus six people) for implementation of telepresence architecture. The room size and number also determines the bandwidth requirement for the network that supports the telepresence rooms or telepresence architecture. 

Independent or partnership: The organization needs to determine if it wants to operate the rooms for implementation of telepresence architecture and infrastructure on its own or partner with a service provider for support. A service provider which provides telepresence architecture can offer managed services and network connectivity where the organization does not need to implement the telepresence architecture and manage the infrastructure itself.

About the author: The writer is a senior executive from Tata Communications.

(As told to Sharon D'Souza.)

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