Cisco rents out video conferencing rooms

Flights may be a thing of the past - executives can now talk face to face by hiring rooms fitted with TelePresence technology.

Cisco has begun renting out high-definition video conferencing rooms to the public, hoping to widen the use of a system that helps executives cut back on travel.

Cisco said it was now renting out rooms equipped with its TelePresence high-definition video screens with built-in microphone and camera lenses for 171 ($299) to 513 ($899) an hour.

The rooms will be available in Santa Clara, California, as well as in some Taj Hotels in India, Boston and London through a partnership with Taj Hotels and Tata Communications.

The price depends on the size of the room, the largest of which can accommodate 18 people. Companies currently can buy TelePresence units for around 18,416 ($34,000) to 171,321 ($300,000) each.

There will be more than 100 rooms available by the end of 2009, including in New York's Pierre Hotel, Cisco said.

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