HP HaloTelePresence, the next-generation video conferencing technology, is slowly catching on with big customers. But it could be a few more years before TelePresence becomes a mainstream opportunity for managed service providers. First, the good news: Hewlett-Packard says its Halo video conferencing deployments have been doubling annually since the product's launch in 2005, according to Reuters. And as new TelePresence systems go in, customers will need managed service providers to deliver related bandwidth optimization services.

Now, for the reality check.

At $250,000 per conference room, Halo and competing TelePresence systems often require steep investments. Alternatives from Cisco Sytems can run as high as $300,000 per conference room. And so far, HP's installed base is only about 150 TelePresence conference rooms. Today, that's not exactly a "big" opportunity for small MSPs.

But that will change, MSPmentor believes. Since TelePresence tends to be expensive, some pundits think it will first gain popularity in "shared" spaces -- such as high-end hotels that host corporate boardroom meetings. In this scenario, there will be opportunities for MSPs to manage the "shared" TelePresence space for a monthly fee.

Also of note: Lower-end TelePresence systems -- which can cost about $10,000 -- are catching on in the midmarket. LifeSize Communications claims to be particularly successful in this lower-end niche.

Perhaps best of all, 80 percent of HP customers that take the TelePresence plunge wind up buying additional TelePresence systems, according to Reuters. That means most customers are impressed with the technology's business value -- despite its generally high price.

Ultimately, MSPmentor expects TelePresence to be part of the unified communications portfolio that many MSPs are just beginning to explore.