New Cisco TelePresence unit gets personal

Desktop videoconferencing has arrived at last -- or at least Cisco hopes it has. The company on Monday announced a version of its

increasingly popular TelePresence system for use in individual offices: the TelePresence System 500. At the same time, the company thinks bigger can be better, too. It announced the TelePresence System 3200, which does a one-up on the six-person 3000, tripling the room capacity by adding a second row of seating at its so-called "virtual table." The other TelePresence family member, the 1000, is geared for a meeting with four-people -- two on screen, and two at the virtual table (though, like all the TelePresence units, can support multiple locations on a single call). The TelePresence System 500 is priced at $33,900, less than half of the 1000, reports Reuters. 

 The Cisco TelePresence System 500

Daniel Petri, in his blog Petri IT Knowledgebase, wrote an interesting analysis of Cisco TelePresence. He had seen it only on the T.V. show 24 until his Cisco account salesperson sauntered in and offered a demonstration. In comparing it to a classic videoconferencing system (name not mentioned), Petri exclaims:

"The Cisco TelePresence suite is not just 'different,' it is extremely different. While they are both 'video conferencing systems', the Cisco solution is in a different league ... You see, with TelePresence, the people on the other end are life size (really). When they talk, it seems like it comes from their mouths. The picture is so clear that you can really look them in the eye. There is no jitter. There is no delay when the people move or talk. In fact, I have heard that it seems so real that attendees have tried to pass papers to others in the meeting, through the screen. "

Last month, TelePresence was in the news when AT&T and Cisco announced that they were teaming up to offer a TelePresence service to be available in 23 countries by late 2008.

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