Cisco winning big in conferencing

Cisco crowed about the sales success of its Telepresence system at its analyst conference Tuesday.

Cisco is running on all cylinders selling its Telepresence high-definition conferencing system, according to a top executive.

Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology Group, said Tuesday that he is not aware of a first-time videoconferencing customer Cisco has lost to a competitor in the past six months. Some enterprises that already had videoconferencing systems have stuck with their old vendors instead of switching, but Cisco has been winning every time in so-called "greenfield" opportunities, as far as he knows, De Beer said.

The aggressive report came during a press lunch at Cisco's annual C-Scape analyst conference in San Jose, California, where executives described a big future for collaboration in the company's future business. Between products for consumers, enterprises and service providers, Cisco expects to be doing a US$50 billion business in video by 2013, De Beer said. Router sales driven by the increased bandwidth demands from video are on top of that, he said.

Cisco has already made 100 deals with large enterprises to deploy Telepresence systems throughout their organizations, it announced Monday. One of those, Proctor & Gamble, will be deploying 360 of the high-end systems within 18 months, De Beer said. It will also use Cisco's inter-company Telepresence technology, announced last week, to conduct conferences with its partners and suppliers. That will probably lead to the deployment of 500 to 1,000 additional systems, he added.

Telepresence combines high-definition video with high-quality audio and presentations, and is designed to create the impression of a live meeting. A three-screen system has a list price in the neighborhood of US$300,000. It has already cut travel costs at Cisco and helped the company keep more in touch with its customers around the world, according to Chairman and CEO John Chambers.

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