Telepresence No Longer Just for the Board Room

Cisco has introduced a number of new telepresence products and enhancements as part of its collaboration portfolio designed to give customers new ways to simply, quickly and cost effectively scale telepresence throughout their organisations. The advancements also enhance “any-to-any” interoperability between Cisco TelePresence endpoints and any standards-based devices, and make the telepresence experience even more intuitive with user-friendly features and capabilities.

The company says that combined with Cisco’s previously announced medianet architecture, advances Cisco’s objective to unlock the power of video for its customers. Cisco is making video easier to use, helping customers rapidly deploy video everywhere, and putting people back in the center of collaboration.

To complement its portfolio of TelePresence offerings ranging from immersive systems to desktop solutions to PC and Mac software clients such as Movi, Cisco is introducing the Cisco TelePresence MX200. The MX200 is ideal for team meetings or personal offices and priced so that customers can telepresence-enable many rooms in their organisation. The endpoint is easy to set up with auto-provisioning and can be up and running in as little as 15 minutes. The MX200 has a list price of $21,600 with pricing flexibility to the customer based on volume purchase agreements. The endpoint is scheduled to be available globally in July.

As more customers realise the benefits of telepresence, the desire to engage in more multiparty conferences often grows as do requests to meet “on the fly.” While this behavior is great for collaboration, it can be problematic for administrators. How do they ensure that they always have enough conferencing ports to accommodate these requests? If there are not enough ports available, these meetings can be put in jeopardy. To solve this problem, Cisco is introducing the Cisco TelePresence Conductor.

The Cisco TelePresence Conductor simplifies and scales multi-party conferencing by intelligently assigning meetings to the most appropriate conferencing unit for the best possible experience. It also can automatically divert conferences to another unit should the power go down. Additionally, TelePresence Conductor enables customers to provide their employees with virtual meeting room “ID” numbers. Employees can provide these numbers to others and meet impromptu, which can help dramatically increase productivity. The Cisco TelePresence Conductor scales from small businesses to large enterprises. Anticipated global availability for the TelePresence Conductor is late second half of 2011.

Cisco is fully committed to open, standards-based connectivity which extends any-to-any video calling to colleagues, partners, and customers, regardless of vendor. With key enhancements to the endpoint software (TC5.0, CTS 1.8), Cisco broadens its multipoint interoperability support and products designed to deliver native point-to-point interoperability between all Cisco TelePresence endpoints and standards-based third party endpoints without requiring an additional hardware transcoding device. This innovation will dramatically increase the simplicity of connecting video calls across the Cisco TelePresence portfolio and between Cisco and endpoints made by other manufacturers.