PictureTel looks to refocus videoconferencing

PictureTel looks to refocus videoconferencing

Videoconferencing specialist PictureTel yesterday launched a new product in partnership with Intel as the company seeks to redefine itself in the soft videoconferencing market.

The Windows NT-based Intel TeamStation System is billed as a visual collaboration tool, enabling users to share data and images in real time over a videoconference call.

The product also allows users to access the Internet and files stored on the company network independently of the videoconferencing application courtesy of high-speed IP or ISDN connections up to 384Kbps.

In addition, the company claims it is the first time the market will have access to an integrated collaboration package featuring an Intel Pentium III processor-based NT Server, wireless keyboard and mouse, a pan/tilt/zoom camera, and hands-free audio system also capable of making standard telephone calls.

Peter McAlpine, PictureTel's new managing director, conceded the videoconferencing market has been tough over the last 12 months despite the fact that PictureTel itself posted worldwide revenues of $US406 million last year.

Significant contributors to videoconferencing's market difficulties include slow network access speeds, high entry-level costs, low demand and difficult setup.

However, McAlpine claims that with improving network bandwidth speeds, falling prices and greater product simplicity the market will rebound.

"My new role is to restimulate the market," he said.

The TeamStation is available through PictureTel's authorised resellers: ComTech, Integrated Vision, Vantage Systems, Global Vision Technology and Siemens. Pricing for the product was not announced, but PictureTel's range of videoconferencing systems start at around $1500 per unit, rising to around $40,000 for high-end systems.

The product is one of the first fruits of Intel's $US30.5 million investment in PictureTel early this year.

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