TELECONFERENCE

London Gatwick Airport to open ‘Regus Business Workboxes’ near departure gates

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In the past few years, so-called ‘sleeping pods’ have made their debut ‘airside’ at several airports around the world, offering passengers in transit a cheap way to catch some sleep while waiting for their next flight. Sleep boxes (also known as Napcabs) can be found at airports including Munich, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Delhi.

On a related note, catering to tech-toting travellers who want to stay productive while on the road, Helsinki Airport has created what it calls ‘Suvanto’ private pods that provide passengers with a tranquil space to make their waiting time more comfortable and make it more convenient to work in between flights.

Regus ‘Business Workbox’
The latest ‘private pod’ initiative will be launched at London Gatwick Airport and is targeted at passengers travelling for business. Gatwick Airport has partnered with workspace provider Regus to open the world’s first mobile ‘workboxes’ at departures areas at the airport’s South Terminal. The first four workboxes will be installed this summer.

The Regus ‘Business Workbox’ is a four square meter fully self-contained, resourced and private space will give individuals a space in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the departure gates, to make last-minute phone calls or finish emails before boarding their flight. The box uses acoustic insulation to ensure that road warriors have quiet, and the space is equipped to allow videoconferencing and listening to music privately.

Users can input their credit card details into a keypad to gain access, which costs GBP5 per hour, or GBP10 per day. Membership schemes are also available. Video of the WorkBox here. Read full article »

Etihad latest airline to install remote TeleMedicine technology

With people traveling longer distances, ultra-large aircraft such as the A380, and people of all ages and medical conditions traveling, the probability of a medical emergency occurring in flight has increased over the years. Airlines such as Lufthansa have created ‘Doctors on board’ programs, and many airlines have arrangements with specialised call centres that their aircraft can contact in the event of an in-flight emergency. 

Equipment that puts an ill passenger in touch with a doctor who can see their vital signs and who is trained in trauma medicine, takes this process forward a few steps. Telemedicine systems such as the Tempus IC Telemedicine system from Remote Diagnostic Technologies (RDT) allows a non-medical user to collect and transmit eight key vital signs routinely measured in an emergency room – including blood pressure, pulse, blood oxygen, breath gas analysis and heart condition – and pass these together with relevant photographs and video directly to a ground-based medical response center.
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Marriott opens TelePresence meeting rooms for rent by the hour

Cisco’s TelePresence system is a life-like high-definition conferencing facility that allows participants to meet eachother across a virtual table. To enhance the feeling of being in the same room, participants’ eyes are at the same level and the walls are often painted the same color. Cisco claims that its TelePresence system comes closer to the face-to-face experience that other solutions have been lacking sofar. Until recently, a private Cisco TelePresence system was only available to businesses at prices ranging from USD 34,000 for a simple set to USD 300,000 for a full-blown system capable of hosting 18 persons. 

Cisco says that currenty more than 3,500 TelePresence systems have been installed worldwide by more than 500 companies, and by introducing public TelePresence rooms for rent, Cisco aims to broaden the use of its technology. Since 2008, Tata Communications has operated such public rooms in London and Boston as well as at 5 locations in India in partnership with Taj Hotels and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
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Cisco & Tata ‘democratize’ high-def video conferencing

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Cisco Systems’s TelePresence system is a life-like high definition conferencing facility which allows participants to meet eachother across a virtual table. Cisco claims that its TelePresence system comes closer to the face-to-face experience that other solutions have been lacking sofar. Until recently, a private Cisco TelePresence system was only available to business customers at prices ranging from USD 34,000 for a simple set to USD 300,000 for a full-blown system capable of hosting 18 persons.

Cisco now aims to broaden the use of its technology by introducing public video conferencing rooms for rent in a partnership with Tata Communications from India, expanding the telepresence market to small and mid-sized businesses. Cisco will provide the TelePresence equipment, whereas Tata Communications will provide the connectivity services that will link the various TelePresence sites. The service is available for USD 299 to USD 899 per hour, depending on the size of the room. The move follows a similar initiative in the U.S. by Hewlett Packard and Marriott International in March last year, to make HP’s video-conferencing technology, known as Halo, available to the public at selected Marriott hotels.

Public TelePresence rooms are currently located at Taj Hotels in New York, Boston, London, Mumbai, and Bangalore, and at the Confederation of Indian Industry-offices in Chennai, Hyderabad and Gurgaon. Planned new locations include New York and the Philippines (in cooperation with local telecom provicer PLDT). In total, Tata Communications plans to open 100 rooms by the end of 2009, expanding the network of connected TelePresence rooms. This network currently consists of 300 internal rooms at Cisco and more than 1,000 rooms installed at over 200 customers worldwide.

In these times of restriced corporate travel policies and environmental awareness of the impact of air travel, the public Telepresence rooms should appeal to businesses that want to save money and/or lower overall CO2 emissions by reducing the need for travel.