The Regus Group has opened the first of a number of high-end video conferencing suites, which will allow businesses to come in and rent an immersive telepresence system, without having to invest in the expensive technology.

Regus offers office space, meeting rooms and conferencing facilities for hire, across 450 cities in 75 countries. It already offers 600 studios worldwide with Polycom video conferencing equipment, but this is the first time it is offering Polycom's RealPresence Experience (RPX) immersive telepresence studios.

The first Regus Telepresence Suite has now been officially launched in Berkeley Square in central London. A global rollout is planned that will see Polycom RPX telepresence suites installed in 14 cities, starting with Paris, Singapore, New York and San Francisco this summer.

Besides partnering with Polycom for these new suites, Regus has also partnered with Cable & Wireless Worldwide, in a joint initiative worth more than £32 million ($52 million) over five years

"Adding Polycom immersive telepresence suites to Regus facilities provides a powerful combination of services available for businesses looking to extend their presence and support an increasingly dispersed and mobile workforce," said Bob Hagerty, chairman & CEO at Polycom in a statement.

"Because Polycom systems are based on established standards for video communication, Regus customers can use telepresence to connect with other Regus facilities, their own offices or with their customers, vendors and partners anywhere in the world."

Pricing for a conventional video conferencing room at Berkeley Square is approximately £150 ($247) plus VAT per hour (up to 11 people, or the room's capacity). As would be expected however, the telepresence suite is more expensive, costing £299 plus VAT per hour, £1,099 for four hours, or £1,999 for eight hours (up to four people only).

Last year, Cisco announced that in conjunction with Tata Communications, it had set up the first of 100 public rooms located across the globe for people who want to use high-end videoconferencing without necessarily investing in the technology. Its UK prices were around $500 (£303) per hour (for one to six people).

Compare these rental costs to a typical Cisco TelePresence system for example, which ranges in list price from $34,900 (£20,278) to $349,000 (£203,000) per installation.

Yet for those organisation's still wishing to invest in the technology, BT Conferencing has setup three high definition (HD) telepresence video conferencing demonstration centres (London, New York and Denver), so potential customers have the ability to try out the products from the main telepresence vendors, including Polycom.