At the InfoComm show, Cisco and Polycom are rolling out telepresence products aimed at a wider range of customers, particularly midmarket and smaller businesses.
Systems bought telepresence rival Tandberg
last year for $3.3
billion, analysts said Cisco would be able to leverage Tandberg's presence in
the midmarket space to expand its video-conferencing offerings into that area.
It was a
market Cisco needed to access to continue growing its visual-communications
business, the analysts said.
That push down
the ladder is continuing, not only for Cisco but also for its biggest rival,
Polycom. Both vendors will be showcasing new telepresence offerings aimed at
small and midsize businesses-or smaller offices within large enterprises-at the
InfoComm 2011 show in Orlando, Fla.
vendors are finding a host of competitors looking to challenge them in both
pricing and simplicity. On June 8, Vidyo introduced its VidyoPanorama product
, which offers an
easy-to-use telepresence experience that can be had on a range of standard
devices-from smartphones and tablets to PCs and high-end video screens. In
addition, Vidyo officials said their telepresence experience can be had for a
fraction of the cost of competing systems from Cisco and Polycom.
Cisco on June
14 announced the MX200, a telepresence endpoint geared toward team meetings and
personal offices in both its pricing and ease of use. The 42-inch system
endpoint offers high-definition 1080p resolution, starts at $21,600 and is a
fully integrated one-piece system, with such features as the camera and codec
in the endpoint.
with its auto provisioning, the MX200 takes 12 to 15 minutes to deploy once it
comes out of the box, Thomas Wyatt, vice president and general manager of
Cisco's TelePresence Infrastructure business, said in an interview with eWEEK.
you turn it on, and it's up and running," Wyatt said.
That is what
midmarket companies and SMBs are looking for, he said. Cisco's larger
TelePresence systems for enterprises can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,
and offer a wide range of features that aren't necessary in smaller companies
or in smaller environments, according to Wyatt. SMBs are looking at the same
kinds of benefits from video collaboration-increased productivity and reduced
expenses-as their larger brethren, he said. However, they need systems that are
easy to install and cost-effective.
The MX200 is
scheduled to be available in July.
management side, Cisco also introduced TelePresence Conductor, designed to
ensure that multi-party video conferences can scale as needed and in the most
efficient way possible. The product monitors multiple MCUs (multipoint control
units) and makes sure that the meetings go to the most appropriate endpoint,
ensuring high availability, resiliency and scalability, Wyatt said.
makes sure to choose the right endpoint ... the right telepresence resources," he
It also will
move the conference to other systems if there's a power outage, and can enable
users to set up impromptu meetings through the use of virtual meeting room ID
numbers, according to Cisco.
be ready in late 2011, Wyatt said.
rolled out other offerings designed to increase interoperability
between Cisco and Tandberg endpoints, and those endpoints and standards-based
Cisco is determined to offer large enterprises and SMBs the widest range of
video-collaboration technologies to enable them to visually communicate at
anytime and from any device. There is always going to be demand for deeply
immersive telepresence systems, just as there will be for smaller offerings.
don't want just the low end, and customers don't just want the high end," he
is looking to bring its telepresence capabilities to more customers, according
to John Antanaitis, the company's vice president of marketing. The vendor's
InfoComm news comes two weeks after Polycom officials announced they are buying
Hewlett-Packard's visual-communications products-including its Halo telepresence
systems-and expanding their
partnership with HP.
trying to do is ... support enterprises, and what we're trying to do is bring the
enterprise experience to smaller businesses and consumers," Antanaitis said in
an interview with eWEEK.
last year, Polycom introduced its OTX 300 telepresence system. This year, the
company is unveiling its OTX 100 offering for smaller businesses and
environments, with a single screen that is good for two to four participants,
he said. It offers the ability to increase productivity, but at 50 percent of the
bandwidth of competitors' solutions-which means a low cost of ownership-and
with interoperability with the unified-communications environments of partners
with the Polycom Open Collaboration Network, such as Microsoft's Lync and
Cisco's CTS systems.
offer the OTX 100 starting in October for $99,999. Another version, the OTC 100
Compact-without the integrated furniture and monitors-will start at $79,999.
is offering a new release of its UC Intelligent Core, a bridge that supports a
wide range of devices, networks and standards, including H.323, TIP
, SIP and RTV, he said. It offers each set-up
and administration, according to Polycom, and will scale to offer up to 75,000
devices and 25,000 concurrent calls, five times the nearest competitor, the
company said. It will be a boon for service providers, who are looking for ways
to handle the oncoming flood of collaboration-related traffic, according to
UC Intelligent Core will be available in the third quarter.