Bank Technology News writes about Wachovia's experience with Cisco TelePresence and a plan to rollout the technology directly into the branch for customer interaction. The idea is to bring the experts to the customer or the branch office in a one-to-one life-like visually-rich meeting. In some respects this is similar to the video call center discussed in this Voicecon post.

Although breathtaking in its simplicity, I think several practical issues will stack up to make this execution less than effective:

  • Privacy concerns means that the telepresence deployment are only in branches that have offices with doors. 
  • The range of experts available will need to be sufficiently large to meet the minimum threshold of productive use of the rooms. 

More likely scenarios are to use the branch device for real-time communications to employees about market changes, business updates and the like. My brother who is an account executive for Wood Gundy in Canada, for example, participates in daily economist calls every morning to help him and his peers at the office, get in the sales and market groove. These are broadcast quality stock broker only private shows.

Keeping the experts in central or regional offices and let the network connect the customer directly is not reminiscent of ESPN's [[Around the Horn]] where a range of locations are interacting with the moderator, or more typical one-to-one remote broadcast interviews with Greta Van Susteren on FoxNews, for example. Bring the guest into a suite and let the experts communicate fully and directly from HQ.

Kumar Srikantan, the Senior Director of Catalyst Switching Product Marketing explained that this is a standard practice now at Cisco. Customers go to their local Cisco office and from his San Jose office, he can communicate fully and directly with customers to discuss product plans and implementation specifics as part of the Executive Briefing service.

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