Telecom promotion slashes videoconferencing costs

Telecom and Auckland-based Video Conferencing Solutions hope to boost the use of videoconferencing through a promotion that slashes the costs of equipment and toll calls. VCS is offering the PictureTel SwiftSite room videoconferencing system for $500 per month on a two-year rental agreement. Telecom is offering $500 worth of free toll calls for the first three months of a 12-month connection.

Telecom and Auckland-based Video Conferencing Solutions hope to boost the use of videoconferencing through a promotion that slashes the costs of equipment and toll calls.

VCS is offering the PictureTel SwiftSite room videoconferencing system for $500 per month on a two-year rental agreement. Telecom is offering $500 worth of free toll calls for the first three months of a 12-month connection.

VCS managing director, Dean Robb, says although videoconferencing is still in its infancy in this country, falling prices are boosting take-up of the technology. He estimates that there are about 200 videoconferencing customers in New Zealand. Major users so far are hospitals for telemedicine.

“Videoconferencing not only cuts travel expenses but you have to look at how much of an executive’s time is taken up by travel and ask how much that costs.”

Robb says rental deals are normally longer than two years but often with new technology users don’t want to commit to a long rental period.

The SwiftSite system which is designed for use in board rooms and group meetings normally retails for around $16,000.

Telecom ISDN manager Dean Ashkettle says falling prices means video-conferencing is now taking off internationally. “The equipment is now a lot more affordable. A few years ago it was $100,000 for a room solution and now it’s $30,000 to $40,000. This promotion will make entry-level videoconferencing even more inviting.”

Ashkettle says videoconferencing is probably the second most popular ISDN application. ISDN rates have remained unchanged since 1995.

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