Lucent Technologies has announced its belief in large scale Internet based conferencing...but it has charged a startup with the task of developing the technology and marketing the concept.
Silicon Valley startup Persystant Technologies, is using Lucent developed technology as a base and will be funded by money Lucent has set aside to invest in venture capital projects.
A co-owner of Persystant is a New Jersey based consultancy, Unixpros, which specialises in custom software development and products for the telecommunications and financial industry.
Lucent decided to fund Persystant because it believed a small company would be able to develop conferencing products more quickly than could be done internally. Tom Uhlman, president of the Lucent New Ventures Group, which is providing an unspecified sum of money, said Lucent was also impressed by Persystant's marketing expertise.
Persystant's Bitroom Collaboration System - based on Lucent subsidiary Bell Labs' technology - is being aimed squarely at the high end of the enterprise market, with increments of 50 users able to take part in virtual classroom training, trade show and auditorium scenarios. These realtime data and voice conferences can be accessed via wireless phones, laptops, and Lan based PCs, using the Internet or corporate networks.
The full range of Bitroom products will be rolled out in the coming months. Persystant believes its edge is the simple requirements of its technology to take part in the conferences - a telephone.
"A lot of companies are trying to figure out the best way to do conferencing over the Internet. It's certain that there's a lot of demand, but one of the problems has been getting people to use the systems," said Peter Bernstein, president of Infonautics Consulting.
Persystant is planning to differentiate itself from Internet conferencing products from the likes of Microsoft and Lotus by aiming the product at large organisations. Beta users among large companies at telcos are going to be announced within two months. The entry level price of the systems will be approximately $35,000.
One analyst though believes technology alone will not get IT directors to sign up immediately. Kathey Hale, principal analyst with Dataquest, said concerns such as lack of bandwidth, worries about security and psychological issues will all slow the adoption of Internet based conferencing systems within corporations.
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