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Safaricom and Tata Communications Launch East Africa's First Public Cisco TelePresence Suites at the Serena Hotels in Kenya and Uganda
Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, and KAMPALA, Uganda, 14 February 2011: Safaricom, the leading provider of converged communication solutions in Kenya, and Tata Communications, a leading provider of the new world of communications, today unveiled the first public Cisco TelePresence Suites® in Kenya and Uganda. Two public Cisco TelePresence® rooms are hosted in Serena Hotels' luxury city hotels in Nairobi and Kampala, both of which are members of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World organization, and a third will be at Safaricom's Michael Joseph Center in Nairobi.

Connectivity and management of the TelePresence rooms will be led by Tata Communications, linking Kenya and Uganda to public and private rooms throughout Tata Communications' network and partner networks. The network spans 32 locations across five continents. This network reach makes TelePresence a truly global collaboration tool.

Safaricom and Cisco collaborated with Copy Cat Ltd to deliver TelePresence solutions for East African customers. Copy Cat has been a member of the Cisco partner ecosystem since 1996 and is currently a Gold Certified Cisco Partner. Cisco also recognizes Copy Cat as an Advanced Technology Provider Partner for delivery of TelePresence solutions.

Highlights / Key Facts

  • This launch marks a new collaboration between Safaricom, Tata Communications and Serena Hotels.
  • The new Safaricom public Cisco TelePresence facilities will enable more than 200 Safaricom customers in Kenya and Uganda to minimize their travel time and expenses by delivering a live, immersive, face-to-face experience via the network. Cisco TelePresence technology allows users to enjoy real-time communication and to collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners even if they are in a different city. Participants sit down at the conference table in one of the Cisco TelePresence rooms and connect to the other participants with a simple phone call. Individuals automatically appear on the screen, irrespective of where in the world they may be sitting. The setup of the rooms allows participants to feel as if they are sitting across a table, in a life-size meeting room.
  • Customers will be able to purchase meeting slots in the Safaricom TelePresence rooms, in advance, on an hourly or daily basis through Tata Communications' interactive 24-hour online booking system, or at the two Serena City hotels.
  • The rooms have been installed with a Cisco TelePresence System 3010, which allows up to six people to connect simultaneously across a maximum of 48 locations. It comprises three 65-inch plasma screens and a specially designed physical table that sits six participants on each side of the virtual table. It also features an additional LCD display for sharing rich-media content and other data using simple collaboration functionality as well as integrated cameras, lights and microphones so that speakers use less power.
  • The 'real life' meeting experience provided by Cisco TelePresence technology is delivered through ultra-high-resolution video that reveals subtle facial expressions conveying nonverbal reactions. Spatial audio allows the transmission of every nuance of the conversation and participants to interact as they would in person.
  • The Safaricom public Cisco TelePresence solution will help save time and costs as well as boost productivity by reducing or eliminating the need to travel, thereby facilitating a 'greener' environment by reducing the carbon footprint. It will also offer increased flexibility to Safaricom customers in East Africa, who will be able to conduct business meetings or sensitive negotiations such as job interviews; collaborate with remote customers, partners or suppliers; orchestrate training for employees or manage remote employees; conduct focus groups and market research; and facilitate 'face-to-face' collaboration between industry or academic colleagues on research projects between locations around the world.
  • The public Cisco TelePresence Suites in Nairobi and Kampala will be connected to a number of other rooms around the globe through Tata Communications' Global Meeting Exchange. The Exchange enables business-to-business meetings between any public rooms or customer-owned private rooms on Tata Communications' services, as well as rooms on the networks of Tata Communications' Inter-Exchange partners, BT and Telefonica, and the National Lambda Rail network, which links leading U.S. universities. This network reach makes the Cisco TelePresence solution a truly global collaboration tool, giving East Africa a whole new way to engage in the world economy.