Cisco Systems, which last year launched its advanced and expensive TelePresence video conferencing into banking through a pilot at Wachovia, last week signed an agreement with HSBC for a global network of conference rooms build for the high-end collaboration technology.

HSBC’s plans are for TelePresence links for executives and staff in nine of its main offices across the globe by year’s end, providing savings and an eco-friendly alternative to jet travel. HSBC reportedly saved $604,000 in just one month on air travel reduction from an early rollout of TelePresence links between its London headquarters and Hong Kong.

For those who haven’t had the experience, TelePresence gives a leap forward to video conferencing – customized rooms with dedicated broadband feeds that broadcast colleagues on large plasma screens situated across from participants. The illusional effect is to make people believe they are in the same room – looking at each instead of watching each other on screens. It’s a fast-growing market, too, with systems also being developed and sold by HP, Polycom, Telanetix and Teliris.

HSBC’s Cisco TelePresence rooms will initially be available at six HSBC locations worldwide: London, Chicago, Hong Kong, Mexico City, New York, and Dubai.

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