HP and Dreamworks partner up enable life-sized video conferencing

HP and Dreamworks want to give business professionals a better video conferencing option than tiny webcam images for virtual meetings. The two companies are forming a partnership called Halo Collaboration Studios which will offer teleconferencing with studio quality sound and life-sized images. The conferencing is done from "Halo" rooms which are basically broadcast studios with cameras, plasma screens and a fast network connection.

Each Halo room can support up to six people. The rooms contain three life-sized plasma screens which projects people and shared laptop documents to other Halo rooms. Cameras can also zoom in and display objects on the conference room table. Of course there has to be some network to connect the rooms, this is provided by the HP Halo Video Exchange Network and the customer must pay a maintenance fee.

HP and Dreamworks already have several Halo studios installed. In fact, Dreamworks used the studios to speed up communications during the product of Shrek 2. Other major companies including AMD and PepsiCo also have the studios.

The Halo rooms are meant for high executives in large corporations and are around $550,000 each. Network costs add another $18,000 a month on top of that. While this sounds like a lot of money, face to face meetings are quite costly for big companies as they have to spend money for transportation and lodging.