Sabre Travel Network and Polycom, Inc., report the two companies are developing the first global reservation system for booking and scheduling public and corporate-owned HD video conferencing and telepresence rooms. Sabre Virtual Meetings will allow users to locate, reserve, and connect public and corporate-owned video conferencing rooms and set up “face-to-face” HD video conferences with colleagues, partners, and customers anywhere around the world, Sabre said.
When integrated into travel applications such as online booking tools or travel agency systems, employees, agents, travel arrangers and other travel buyers will be able to reserve and schedule video conferencing rooms at the same time they book flights and hotels.
The Sabre meeting room system will be open to multiple telecom and video conferencing providers, and be accessible through several travel and third-party distribution channels including global distribution systems, travel management companies, online booking tools, and directly on the Internet.
Sabre said the Virtual Meetings will increase the adoption and use of corporate-owned video conferencing solutions, delivering a faster ROI on those assets. Additionally, the platform will increase use of public video conferencing rooms, such as those Polycom is helping to establish at Regus locations worldwide.
“Advances in technology have changed the way we live our lives and run our businesses,” said Greg Webb, president of Sabre Travel Network. “Sabre Virtual Meetings will create a step change in the way corporate employees communicate and collaborate with each other and their customers. By making telepresence scheduling as simple as booking airline travel, Sabre and Polycom will help companies and employees form closer relationships with customers, enhance internal collaboration and increase productivity.”
Sabre Virtual Meetings will allow travel buyers (including travel agencies, corporate travel managers, small-to-medium businesses and corporate employees) to view conference room availability in real-time, review rates and features and book meetings across geographic regions, making reserving and scheduling video conference rooms as easy and intuitive as other travel options.
Companies with their own video conferencing rooms will also be able to use Sabre Virtual Meetings to customize how they manage their rooms: making them available internally only, to select customers and partners or to the broader public (as part of the Sabre Virtual Meetings public room selection). Sabre Virtual Meetings will offer a flexible platform to allow companies to choose how best to schedule and reserve their video conferencing rooms to get maximum ROI.
“Sabre Virtual Meetings is a bold new approach making it easier for companies to locate and reserve a video conferencing room – either as a complement to business travel or in lieu of it – to connect with their customers, partners, and vendors around the world,” said Sue Hayden, executive vice president, Polycom. “This solution will drive awareness and the use of video conferencing solutions, and help our enterprise customers maximize ROI on video conferencing technology investments while experiencing first-hand the advantages of visual communications.”
"The need for a centralized reservation system to facilitate business-to-business video meetings has grown tremendously in recent years. Incorporating a global reservation system into existing travel distribution channels is an innovative approach,” said Rich Costello, senior research analyst, IDC. “Polycom and Sabre are addressing a real business need through the Sabre Virtual Meetings and I anticipate it will continue to drive the use of video solutions.”
Sabre said it expects to launch the new reservation system in the first half of 2012 through travel management companies and directly with corporations.