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What is a Telepresence Suite and Why Are Hotels Installing Them?

June 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM | by | Comment (1)

There's a new kind of pay-by-the-hour hotel room in town, and this is one where you won't have to worry about suspicious stains on the bedding because there's no bedding at all!

Newly installed at Starwood's W Chicago City Center and Sydney's Sheraton on the Park are "Telepresence Suites," virtual meeting rooms that connect business travelers stationed around the world as though they were doing business in person. Because you can only do so much using the front-facing camera on a new iPhone 4.

Developed by Cisco Systems, the Telepresence rooms use video conferencing technology mixed with convenient business facilities to allow users to meet with people in many cities, in one day, without the need of a private jet. The only downside is that for the technology to really be worth it, the rest of those with whom you are meeting should also be in a Telepresence suite somewhere. If they can't get into one of the hotels with them, then American Express Business stores and some public Cisco Systems locations do have them, as well as many locations in India and in Taj Hotels. Here is a brief listing of some of them.

Starwood plans to have Telepresence suites up and running soon at at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Kuwait, Sheraton Centre Toronto and the Westin Los Angeles Airport, but they aren't the only ones getting in on the game. Marriott has been playing around with Telepresence rooms since earlier this year, installing them at hotels like the Renaissance Washington DC, Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square.

Now you ask: how much? Use of telepresence rooms is based on size since there are a number of setups available, but it's good to budget about $500 per hour for the average.

[Photo: Cisco Systems & the NYT]

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The Sheraton Centre Toronto has already debuted the Telepresence room at the hotel. One more to add to the list!

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