Cisco's Telepresence gets personal

Cisco later this year will introduce a TelePresence virtual meeting system for home offices and medium-sized businesses.

Cisco Systems will take its TelePresence virtual meeting systems into home offices later this year, bringing telecommuters nearer to their corporate colleagues and society one step closer to science fiction.

TelePresence uses high-definition video, large flat-screen monitors and advanced audio systems to make electronic meetings more lifelike, with a full-size view of participants at each site. It was introduced in late 2006 in configurations for six and for two meeting participants, but executives have said they are aiming eventually to expand the technology to the consumer market. The prospect of life-size interactive TVs in living rooms may someday foster closer relationships among widely dispersed families, but also conjures up images of the Telescreen two-way televisions in George Orwell's book "1984."

Unlike the Telescreen, the 37-inch Cisco TelePresence System 500 can be turned off by the home user. It's designed to let a telecommuter or an employee of a medium-sized business participate in TelePresence sessions with co-workers, partners, customers and others without traveling. It's a step down from the three 65-inch displays used in the flagship TelePresence System 3000, but it includes speakers, camera, a lighting setup and a built-in microphone array in the screen to deliver similar quality, according to Cisco. It can be mounted on a desk, pedestal or office wall, with the screen doing double duty as a second PC monitor or a digital sign between meetings. Users can participate in one-on-one meetings and companywide TelePresence sessions with co-workers who have the larger systems.

The System 500 is not the consumer device Cisco envisions, which former Chief Development Officer Charlie Giancarlo last year predicted could be sold within two to three years for about $US1000. The System 500, coming in the third quarter, will have a list price of $33,900. But it does represent a less expensive entry price for medium-sized businesses. The six-seat System 3000 costs about $299,000 per room and the one-screen, two-seat System 1000 is priced at $79,000 per room.

A complete room analysis and system configuration service is included in the price of the existing products but will be optional for the System 500 because it generally won't be necessary, spokeswoman Jacqueline Pigliucci said.

Also in the third quarter, Cisco will expand the TelePresence line upward with the System 3200 for 12 or 18 participants. It will have a second row behind the existing six-person configuration, with similar specially built desks with built-in microphones, which place a speaker's voice correctly for participants at the other site. The back row doesn't have to be raised above the front, Cisco said. While participants in the front watch a display below the main screens for data sharing, those in the back row can see that content on additional screens above. The System 3200 will have a list price of $340,000, and there will be a $90,000 upgrade kit for System 3000 customers.

Along with the System 3200 comes an update that will also be available in the other platforms: Data-sharing will run at 30 frames per second; until now it has been 5 frames per second.

TelePresence has been a high-end, high-profile hit for Cisco, which said last week that revenue for the platforms rose 1000 per cent in the quarter ended April 26 from a year earlier. More than 500 units had been ordered since the technology was introduced in October 2006, the company said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?