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Friday, October 20, 2006

Cisco Teams with Fox For TelePresence Product Launch

Cisco Cisco, the company famous for high-end networking equipment is attempting to reinvent itself. A few weeks ago they launched a new redesign of their logo and website which now offers a fresh Web 2.0-type feel to it. They are trying to be more customer friendly and their new logo says that to me.
Well, now they have teamed with Fox for some fairly obvious product placement in the new Fox show 'Vanished'. It's One of the detectives is wanting to see some evidence from the FBI office in another city and he says "Connect us to DC via Cisco." Obviously referring to Cisco's Telepresence logo that is on the large screens behind him. You can watch this short video for yourself on Cisco's site here.

I was able to connect with someone at Cisco to get this tidbit of knowledge
Cisco’s Telepresence technology is the next generation in video teleconferencing. Telepresence provides a 3 dimensional environment for video teleconferencing so unique that it literally looks, feels, and sounds like the plasma display is merely an extension of the room you are sitting in. This system is so detailed that the audio itself is heard from the left or right positions of the respective people on the conference.

Cisco Product Placement on FoxThey also went on to tell me some more about this Telepresence technology which also has the ability to add web collaboration for increased impact. You have a full 3 dimensional view of the remote parties, so no more twiddling thumbs or playing with the blackberries under the table. Scheduling is easily done by creating a meeting from your scheduling application such as Outlook and all of this is integrated in to Cisco’s unified messaging solution.

It all sounds pretty cool and if it works like it seems to on TV (I believe everything I see on TV, dont you?) then this may revolutionize the video conferencing industry, at least among big business who can afford it.

The show Vanished airs Oct 27th on Fox.

By Jason Dowdell at 02:36 PM | Comments (7)

(7) Thoughts on Cisco Teams with Fox For TelePresence Product Launch

This looks like cool technology, but of course there is some Cisco hype here.

Telepresence was pioneered by TeleSuite Corporation (now Destiny Conferencing, for which I work), and is offered by Destiny, Polycom (the Polycom RPX), HP (Halo), Telanatix and Teliris, all of which have products being shipped now with the features mentioned above. Of course, the Cisco product has not yet gone on sale, and I have yet to see it demonstrated publicly, so I can't really evaluate it.

Telepresence is about psychology as much as technology; there are some subtle aspects to it but if you get it right the technology drops away and you really do feel like you are in the same room with people a continent away.

Comments by Marshall Eubanks : Friday, October 20, 2006 at 08:08 PM

That's some very interesting technology, reminds me of this corporate commercial AT&T put together back in 1997 when everyone was talking about this paradigm shift called "the internet". Cool stuff.

Comments by Jason : Friday, October 20, 2006 at 09:56 PM

I think they have been doing product placement in the TV show 24 for a few years now (24 is also on Fox). The terrorists were having trouble hacking into CTU because they had the new cisco router, or something to that effect.

Comments by Pete Freitag : Monday, October 23, 2006 at 05:18 PM

Here is more information on what they are doing, from the demo's today.

Each screen is 1080p at 30 fps, running H.264 (probably) at 3 Mbps. There is a three camera array just below the top of the central monitor that provides the images, and a directional sound system in the mics mounted on the table tops.

FIrst reviews are that it is quite good - congratulations to the team at Cisco.

Oh, and they have 4 product / technology placements so far on "24" - you can watch them all here :

Comments by Marshall Eubanks : Monday, October 23, 2006 at 07:26 PM

So how much would it cost to get the one person unit installed in 3 remote locations for a small company like mine?

Comments by Jason : Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 06:36 AM

You've got to hand it to the Cisco marketing machine -- though this level of technology in videoconferencing (HD quality video, location-sensitive hi-fi audio, simple UI) is hardly new. See

I think they've been selling this to the government for a few years now, since the governemnt generally have the bandwidth to support it. If the CTU existed, chances are it would have already been using such a product, and it wouldn't have been Cisco's.

Will be interesting to see if the traditional low-bandwidth/low quality vendors (Polycom, Tandberg) are really concerned about this level of technology. Cisco certainly have the ability to influence the market in ways that Marconi obviously didn't.

Comments by bimmersteve : Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 08:29 AM

The Marconi solution is a low resolution product, it has a VGA resolution (480i) which is far below 1080p. HD broadcasts are at 720p or 1080i, so Cisco's solution is twice the resolution of 1080i.
The real killer arguments for Cisco's Telepresence are the 1080p resolution (unheard of), compression level achieved (only a mere ~5Mbps per 1080p screen) and the extra low latency for audio (~100 msec which is a third of the perceptible threshold). This beats hand down the HP Halo product.
List price for Cisco Telepresence

Comments by Al : Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 09:23 PM

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