HP shows off US$350,000 Halo video conferencing room

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HP shows off US$350,000 Halo video conferencing room
The HP Collaboration Studio, an end-to-end video-conferencing package that costs US$350,000 per room.

HP demonstrated its US$350,000 Halo room, located in the company’s Rhodes office, that integrates audio, video and software in an end-to-end package for large enterprise businesses. See photos and more details.

The Collaboration Studio is the top end of HP’s Halo range. The package includes four video screens (three for people and one for collaboration), microphones and speakers, a specially curved desk that seats six people, an overhead object camera with 64x zoom mounted above the central desk, designer lighting and eggshell wallpaper to reduce noise.

See our Photo Gallery for pictures of the Halo teleconference rooms.

Each room has 50 to 60 devices with individually-assigned IP addresses. This enables the “Concierge” technical support team to remotely control the room, such as dimming the lights or adjusting the volume.

Underpinning the Halo Telepresence Service is the Halo Video Exchange Network (HVEN), a dedicated 45Mbit fibre optic network that does not require bandwidth scheduling.

Darren Podrabsky, marketing manager of HP Halo Telepresence Solutions, said that HVEN was the secret to the Halo experience.

“It enables us to send sound and audio perfectly synchronised,” said Podrabsky.

Podrabsky is located at Halo headquarters in Corvallis, and spoke to journalists via the new Halo room at Rhodes, Sydney.

Podrabsky explained that the Halo solution is aimed at large enterprises.

“We began talking to Fortune 1000 companies with globally dispersed teams, with the need to be productive, wanting a reliable solution.

“One of the biggest complaints that these companies had was the unreliability. But our system as as close to 100 per cent as possible. Our only problems are earthquakes, backhoes, and every now and again, a boat anchor drags up a cable.”

HP’s in-house Collaboration Studio is the most expensive of the three Halo options. The Collaboration Centre offers two seats for a base list price of US$120,000, and the Collaboration Meeting Room offers four seats for $249,000.

But to make the system work, companies will need to buy two rooms: one for each end of the teleconference.

Customers also needed to pay a $9900 monthly technical services cost, which included the Concierge service.

But the savings were clear, said Podrabsky.

“Generally speaking, almost every customer we talk to is break-even in the first six months to a year.

“We did a study that showed certain sites logged up to a 40 per cent reduction in travel during their first year. Simultaneously, some of those same sites saw a 30 per cent increase in Halo usage.

“Just within HP, we anticipate we’ll cut at least 20,000 trips this year.”

Podrabsky said that HP had had no problems sharing a name with Microsoft’s popular Halo Xbox game.

“We can’t trademark it in the US, which is why you don’t see Halo with a trademark symbol,” he said. “Because we’re in different markets with different products, that’s how we avoided problems. If it had been a consumer product there would have been a lot more heartburn.”
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