by May 1, 2009 0 comments

HP defines its Halo Telepresence solution as an ‘end-to-end, round-the-clock,
managed solution for real-time collaboration’. In simpler words, what
differentiates Halo from other Telepresence offerings in the market is the
attention to detail, and the fact that the offering is a service and not a
product. Halo offers its customers an extremely easy menu-driven interface in
order to encourage a DIY model. For instance, it lets you click and choose the
location you wish to connect to, alerts the other person dynamically and starts
the conference. An open door with a white/green light indicates that the ‘room’
you wish to connect to, is empty, or closed if occupied. In case you happen to
need assistance of any nature, you can click and dial-in to the Concierge, where
an individual picks up your call after recognizing the location you are calling
in from. Besides the obvious tasks of helping you with connectivity and access
issues, the Concierge can dim your conference room lights, increase microphone
sensitivity and everything else in between.

According to HP, Halo rooms are designed to focus on people, and not on the
product/service itself. Halo has been designed in association with Dreamworks
Studios — everything from the curvature of the display screens to the chocolate
brown back walls of the conference rooms, and the lighting has been designed
after expert advice on how broadcast and movies have an uncanny resemblance to
Telepresence conferencing. In order to ensure a smooth user experience, a
dedicated worldwide network has been created by HP exclusively for use for Halo.
This network called the HP Video Exchange Network, has an Indian exchange
situated in Chennai, to enable Indian customers seamless connectivity and a
guarantee that more than 95% of connectivity issues can be sorted out by the
customers themselves. As a routine measure, at around 3 am local time, everyday,
the Concierge does automatic calibrations of all Halo rooms across the world,
which includes technology refresh and software updates.

The Halo rooms themselves are categorized into three — a meeting room format
where around 6-8 individuals can participate, a smaller option where 3-4 people
can participate and a stripped down version where 1 or two individuals can
participate, in a cubicle-within-your-workplace model. The last one, HP hopes
will be received well by midsize enterprises, especially in India, who operate
in industry verticals that require them to interact globally.

In a demo which PCQuest participated, we connected from Bangalore to the
studio in Boeblingan, Germany with Frank Kasparek (HP Halo Pre-Sales), and then
with Paul Bradley (Business head – HP Halo UK, Europe, Middle east and Asia) in
London. The experience initially was no different from other Telepresence
offerings in the market, but the option of ‘managing’ the service individually
made a difference and 15 minutes into the conference, the engagement level was
high and an ‘almost real’ feel of sitting face-to-face with the conference
members was quite impressive.

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