Cisco is beefing up its videoconferencing lineup. On Wednesday, the company released several new products and updates intended to increase its position in this growing corporate market.
Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, told news media that his company is "not going to rest until every single room in every single business all over the world has extraordinary video conferencing and collaboration equipment."
Three integrated video systems were announced. The second generation of the Cisco TelePresence MX200 is designed for smaller rooms, offers HD, and is touted as being easy to install. The Cisco TelePresence MX700 and MX800 are intended for medium-size to large rooms, and supports HD as well as H.265 video.
The TelePresence SX10 Quick Set utilizes existing flat panel displays to quickly -- within 10 minutes, according to Cisco -- turn them into a HD video collaboration system.
There are also new cameras. The TelePresence Precision 60 provides 1080p/60 image quality with a large zoom range. The TelePresence SpeakerTrack 60 uses the Precision 60 to offer a dual camera system employing facial recognition and voice triangulation technology to automatically zoom toward the active speaker in a large meeting, and follow that speaker as he walks around the room.
The TelePresence SX80 is built for large spaces, and can be integrated with various camera options. It supports H.265 and up to three screens.
Additionally, the company said its beta feature Intelligent Proximity can be integrated within its solutions. When a Cisco video system with Intelligent Proximity senses that a smartphone or tablet has been brought into a meeting, the system asks if that user would like to integrate the device into the media experience.
'Improving the In-Room Experience'
If the invitation is accepted and the device paired with the system, the user can share materials with the large screen and separately review presented material. The idea is that space on the main monitor can be freed up for group-oriented presentations if the mobile device users want to view material in detail.
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us the new announcements were the company's "most significant" in the video field since it acquired video communications provider Tandberg in 2010.
He added that the new and updated offerings "really focus on things that can keep companies from using video," such as ease of setup without an IT person. He noted that "only about 10 to 15 percent of conference rooms currently have video conferencing." As Google and others are beginning to offer easy-to-use video for businesses, simplicity in setup and operation is key to Cisco upping its game.
In addition to removing the setup barrier, Kerrvala said that "improving the in-room experience" was central to Cisco's goal of enlarging its customer base for video conferencing. The intelligent tracking of the speaker by the camera, he said, is one of the ways that the previously static experience can be improved.