First a little background. Telepresence is any technology that facilitates a single meeting with participants in multiple locations; all participants are able to see and hear each other. Generally, this is implemented as a group of people in each location sitting on one side if a conference table, with a bank of large screens opposite them. If the screens are properly arranged, participants will have the impression of being looked at when they speak.
An image of a typical telepresence facility may be viewed here.
For some time, telepresence has been employed as a private facility between employees of large corporations with facilities installed in their own buildings. However, Tata Communications is expanding this usage to offer public-access telepresence rooms, based on Cisco technology, in many locations around the world.
Requiring a constant connection of 20MB/sec, telepresence facilities can be a major impact on most organisations' Internet connections. Tata addresses this by making use of its own IP infrastructure for as much of the connection as possible.
Currently, Tata has 10 public access rooms, with another 41 in planning. However, it is the latest alliance announcements that will encourage growth in the industry.
If one thinks about it, a corporate travel agency is in the business of facilitating meetings, but do those meeting actually require everyone to be in the same room at the same time?