The ANZ Bank has become the first local financial institution to buy into Cisco's new telepresence solution with two units to be installed in its Melbourne and Bangalore, India offices at a cost of around $600,000.
Unlike traditional videoconferencing, a "telepresence" is designed and engineered to immerse the participants into a more real-life-like communication experience by combining voice with life-size video transmissions.
As reported by Computerworld, Cisco introduced its telepresence systems to the local market earlier this year and now has units deployed and in use internally throughout its global operations.
Telstra was one of the first adopters of the technology and ANZ will join the trend "within ths next fiscal quarter", according to Cisco Australia and New Zealand managing director Les Williamson.
Williamson said ANZ has several "layered reasons" for deploying two telepresence systems, including general meetings, to reduce travel, but the main premise was the "productivity drive".
"ANZ Bank will be our first financial sector customer to deploy telepresence units and it's a very exciting customer story for us," he said.
The ANZ will deploy two TP3000 telepresence systems - one in each city - with each supporting six "heads" so six people can sit in a telepresence session in each locations.
ANZ has offshored some of its IT operations to Bangalore.
The going rate for a telepresence system is $300,000 apiece with the expense justified through travel reduction.
Cisco claims telepresence differs from regular videoconferencing in that it gives all participants a feeling of immersion with 65-inch plasma screens giving a life-size view of all participants.
The TP3000 has three screens and supports six people, and the smaller TP1000 has one screen for two people.
For connectivity, standard SIP and Ethernet are used with bandwidth typically between 2 and 4Mbps per screen for real-time, 1080p high-definition video.
Williamson would not say which Cisco patner would do the installation, and could not say if there are any other financial institutions following ANZ's lead.
Internally, Cisco is installing telepresence systems in its Auckland, Perth and Canberra offices to add to its Sydney and Melbourne units.
It is also adding another 23 in its global headquarters in San Jose, California which are used to host executive briefings with customers.