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 NEW YORK, March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- In a major step toward bringing business customers the benefits of combining communications and computing, AT&T (NYSE: T) today announced visual communications products and services that will allow faster and better decision making, real time problem solving and high-quality customer service.
 AT&T's new products include a desktop personal-computer-based video system that lets users see each other and collaborate on computer files while they talk and a video control unit that lets people in several places join on a single video call.
 With the announcement, the company committed that its VISUAL SOLUTIONS(TM) products and services for business will be based on globally accepted standards for video calls over digital phone lines. That will allow its products to work with other products equipped with the same standards, whether future products or current products, such as AT&T's Group Video System manufactured by PictureTel Corp.
 "Businesses that might have been uncertain about investing in visual communications equipment can rest assured now, knowing these products will work with future products based on the same standards," said Jerre L. Stead, president of AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems unit. "In other words -- 'come on in, the water's fine.'"
 Companies worldwide, working through the Consultative Committee on International Telephone and Telegraphy (CCITT), have agreed upon standards, which are commonly called "Px64," for video transmission over digital phone lines.
 The announcement brings AT&T a step closer to realizing its intention, announced last year, to be the global leader in visual communications, the company said.
 Desktop Visual Communications and Collaboration
 At the desktop, users working in a Microsoft Windows(TM) environment can use the new AT&T Personal Video System Model 70 to see each other in a scalable video window on their personal computers as they talk and simultaneously collaborate on computer documents.
 For example, a buyer at a discount store can work closely with a vendor, even if the vendor is miles away in a different city. By sharing documents, they can compare purchase orders or product specifications and collaborate on changes by making notations or modifying files on the screen. A process that once would have taken days as documents were sent back and forth now can be completed in a few minutes.
 Users can share Windows applications, requiring that only one personal computer house the application and files. Both participants can make changes and annotate files with handwritten notes, all while seeing each other in the video window while they talk and work.
 "People are telling us that the ability to meet with others spontaneously and work together, despite being in different places, will change the way they do business," Stead said. "It will make them more productive, giving them the tools to make decisions quicker and better serve customers."
 The Personal Video System is the first major product developed for business customers through a collaboration of AT&T Global Business Communications Systems, NCR and AT&T Microelectronics. The system is the first product to use AT&T Microelectronics' AVP 4000 video- compression chipset, announced in April 1992 and based on the Px64 standards for video and audio compression.
 The Personal Video System Model 70 incorporates a board in AT&T's 8510T ISDN Voice Terminal, making it "video-ready"; NCR TeleMedia(TM) Connection hardware and software for most 386 or 486 personal computers; a video camera unit that sits on top of the personal computer screen and connecting cables.
 The initial product operates through AT&T's market-leading DEFINITY(R) Communications System G3i, G3r, G3s and G2.2 business telephone switches or through a digital telephone line connection to an AT&T 5ESS(R) Switch.
 AT&T said its Personal Video System allows customers the benefit of quality motion video, at 10 to 15 frames per second, at economical transmission rates of 112 or 128 kilobits per second. The Personal Video System brings to the desktop the quality usually associated only with conference-room systems.
 Customers can purchase Personal Video Systems in quantities of four, starting at $6,995 per unit, with delivery scheduled for the fall of 1993. AT&T also will offer promotional packages for businesses that want to install new or upgrade existing DEFINITY systems to add video capabilities.
 Multi-Location Video Conferences
 Businesses can manage their own video conferences between several locations by using AT&T's new MultiPoint Control Unit, which implements Px64 standards and is based on proven DEFINITY system technology. Customers can conference together up to 24 different sites per unit, even if the locations use a variety of video conferencing endpoints, provided they meet the Px64 standard.
 The MultiPoint Control Unit will be available in the fourth quarter of 1993, with prices ranging from $60,000 to $200,000, depending on features and size of the unit.
 AT&T said its Global Business Video Services' video center in Atlanta expects to make the AT&T MultiPoint Control Unit the cornerstone vehicle for connecting multi-location, standards-based video calls, supplementing the center's existing services.
 Range of Product and Services
 With the new products, businesses can obtain a full array of visual communications equipment from AT&T. AT&T will continue to offer its Group Video System, based on the PictureTel System 4000(TM) video conferencing family, and end-to-end support for all its products and services.
 "By working with PictureTel, we're providing our customers with end-to-end support for their video conferencing needs, and we're committed to working together with PictureTel to continue to supply the best group video systems," Stead said.
 AT&T also announced that customers who want to use their DEFINITY systems for wideband video switching will have the option of doing so. Customers can connect their Group Video Systems more economically and set up calls faster using another CCITT standard, called 384 H0, for one 384-kilobits-per-second channel rather than bundling together several smaller channels.
 Customers can call 1-800-VIDEO-GO to receive more information about the AT&T VISUAL SOLUTIONS products and services. The toll-free number connects them with AT&T's Video Technical Center, where dozens of specialists provide a range of services, including the design and project management of complex, multi-location video systems. The same toll-free number also reaches the AT&T Video Center, where customers receive video network services support.
 DEFINITY and 5ESS are registered trademarks and AT&T VISUAL SOLUTIONS is a trademark of AT&T. NCR is a registered 4000 is a trademark of PictureTel Corp.
 -0- 3/22/93
 /CONTACT: Tamara Boykin, 313-262-4958, or (home) 313-331-2246, or Laura Williams, 908-658-2604, or (home) 908-359-4360, or Jo Johnston, 908-658-7082, or (home) 908-638-4547, all of AT&T/


JG-ML -- DE008 -- 8165 03/22/93 11:05 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 22, 1993

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