Cisco Systems is looking to bring its telepresence capabilities into the home, a strategy Cisco officials will talk about at the Consumer Electronics Show. The move will bring Cisco into competition with Skype, which already offers such capabilities, and Polycom, which is partnering with IBM on a consumer video communications prototype that will be shown at CES.
Cisco Systems is continuing its push into the home, with a video
communications strategy using a consumer high-definition television and a
Cisco officials are talking about their plans at the Consumer Electronics
Show, which runs Jan. 7 to 10 in Las Vegas.
In conjunction with partner Verizon, Cisco will begin home telepresence
trials in the United States
in the spring. Later in 2010, the company will partner with France Telecom in
trials in France.
Cisco officials have said they see a strong opportunity to bring video
communications into the home. According to IDC,
there will be 32 million homes in the United
States in 2010 with the needed broadband
connection to support a high-quality telepresence environment.
"Home telepresence will make a difference in the consumers' lives by
allowing them to enjoy natural video communications with family and friends
wherever they are located," Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and
general manager of Cisco's Emerging Technologies group, said in a statement
Not only will they be able to connect with other home telepresence users,
but they will be able to call PCs using a Webcam and video chat service, De
In a research note Jan. 6, Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga
Securities, said he expects that in 2010 Cisco will launch a version of its
TelePresence product that consumers can buy through a service provider that
involves a set-top box and a camera that ties into the television.
Cisco isn't the only company interested in expanding into the home video
communications space, a market where Skype is already active. At CES, Skype
officials announced a partnership with LG and Panasonic to make Skype-enabled
HDTVs, which will help Skype expand its video communication services beyond the
PC. Those HDTVs will be available in the middle of the year.
Also at CES, Polycom
and IBM are demonstrating a home video conferencing
prototype as part of
IBM's smart home presentation.
Polycom co-founder and CTO Jeff Rodman
said there is a growing overlap between home and work spaces, and it's at that
intersection that something like a home video communications technology can
Employees who use video conferencing or immersive telepresence technologies at
work see the benefits of such products at home, Rodman said.