December 13, 2005 7:48 AM PST
HP creates Halo effect for videoconferencing
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camera to project and zoom in on physical products on a table. Although HP is marketing the product to have "no perceived latency," a slight transmission delay was apparent during a live demonstration with HP executives in London.
DreamWorks has 10 such rooms spread across its offices in California, England and Hong Kong, and is looking to set up similar sites in its new studios in Taiwan and India. The first test Halo room was up and running in March 2003.
Estimated to cost $550,000 each if implemented on a modest scale, Halo rooms are outside the reach of smaller businesses. However, the rooms are available under a 48-month payment scheme, in which companies fork out $30,000 per month. HP also offers payment plans for 36 months and 60 months.
According to HP, the network and service for each room will likely cost $18,000 per month, depending on local telecommunications charges in the various countries.
The company is exploring possibilities of offering Halo in varying room configurations and will soon provide support for connection between multiple Halo rooms. Currently, people can only communicate between two Halo sites.
HP has 13 Halo rooms set up across its offices worldwide, including Spain, Israel and Singapore. Videoconferences between its research and development teams in Singapore and Barcelona now frequently take place in the respective Halo rooms, said Ken Crangle, HP's general manager for Halo.
"We can now meet more often and for shorter times," he said. The company is expecting a 26 percent increase in the use of Halo rooms across HP in 2006, he added.
According to a study by Wainhouse Research released in October, enterprises spend an average 12 hours per month using traditional videoconferencing equipment. Among Halo customers, which currently include chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices and food and beverage company PepsiCo, this figure increases to 131 hours, Crangle said.
AMD has two Halo rooms in the United States, one in Austin, Texas, and one in Sunnyvale, Calif., and plans to expand the system to Europe and Asia, said Hector Ruiz, AMD's chief executive. "We've been able to cut down on executive travel, and we are able to have impromptu meetings with colleagues located miles away."
HP and DreamWorks share the revenue from the sale of Halo, which falls under HP's imaging and printing group.
Eileen Yu of ZDNet Asia reported from New York.
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