Cisco, Teliris Get Personal With Telepresence


First up, Cisco launched the TelePresence System 500, a high-definition video conferencing solution for personal offices. According to Cisco, the smaller form-factor offers many of the qualities of Cisco's larger, more expensive TelePresence solutions but adds the flexibility to offer intimate, on-on-one meetings or enable employees to join larger meetings from their personal workspaces. Cisco is also billing the TelePresence System 500 as a lower-cost entry point for mid-sized business looking for a telepresence solution to reach out to partners, customers and suppliers.

The Cisco TelePresence 500, which lists for $33,900, ties together a 37-inch display, a camera, a microphone array, speakers and specially-designed lighting into one solution that can be placed on a desk, mounted on a wall or stood on a pedestal in a private office. Users can participate in virtual meetings as a participant, appearing life-size to participants using Cisco TelePresence rooms. The system can also be used as a second monitor in a personal office or as a digital sign through integration with Cisco Digital Media System video technology for digital signage and desktop video streaming.

New York-based Teliris also gave telepresence a personal touch and unveiled Teliris Personal Telepresence, a solution designed for single users and executives. The single-screen system runs at a list price of $32,500 and offers high-definition video at 30/60 frames per second, a 40-inch HD display, an integrated microphone, advanced audio processing system, full collaboration through picture-in-picture and features PAS, Teliris' positional awareness system for proper seating.

Along with their personal telepresence solutions, both vendors also unveiled other new solutions to their telepresence lineups.

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Cisco went big, releasing the Cisco TelePresence System 3200, which builds on Cisco's six-person TelePresence System 3000 by tripling the room capacity and augmenting the virtual table with a second row of seating for larger venues. The solution is targeted at headquarters sites or large regional offices to let larger teams meet and collaborate with remote participants when much of the team is in one location. The 3200 provides high-quality audio and video to participants in both rows without a raised row of second seating.

The system features table configurations for either 12 or 18 participants, new camera lenses, microphones for back-row participants and a new codec to support data sharing at 30 fps. The TelePresence System 3200 lists for $340,000. A Cisco TelePresence System 3200 upgrade kit is also available to expand TelePresence System 3000 deployments for $90,000.

Both new Cisco TelePresence solutions will be available alongside existing TelePresence 1000 and 3000 systems and fall in line with Cisco's recent introduction of intercompany TelePresence services and Cisco's partnership with AT&T for managed TelePresence that enable TelePresence users to meet with partners, customers, suppliers and others outside their company.

According to Charles Stucki, vice president and general manager of the TelePresence business unit at Cisco, new solutions and developments in intercompany video conferencing will increase the uses and value of TelePresence and help accelerate its proliferation in companies of all sizes.

"Video is rapidly becoming the most effective way to communicate and share information," he said. "TelePresence is much more than video. TelePresence puts you into the meeting in every important sense."

While Cisco took the bigger is better approach, Teliris took its other telepresence solutions in the other direction, focusing on smaller deployments and cost savings.

The Teliris Express Telepresence solution comes in a two or three screen system that can accommodate four to six participants in an existing conference room. It uses HD video at 30/60 frames per second, uses 46-inch HD telepresence display, pod microphones and an advanced audio processing system. The Express Telepresence solution requires no room build-out and is compatible with other Teliris collaboration options. Prices for the Express Telepresence system range from $99,000 to $125,000 depending on configuration. Picture here is the Express Telepresence in a two-screen configuration.

In a statement, Teliris CEO and co-founder Marc Trachtenberg said the new releases were a natural evolution for the company to enhance its portfolio with lower cost solutions to bring telepresence to a wider audience and help Teliris compete against others like Cisco, Polycom, Tendberg and HP.

Both Teliris' Personal Telepresence and Express Telepresence solutions are compatible with all Teliris VirtuaLive environments and, using the Teliris Telepresence Gateway, interoperate with traditional video conferencing and other standards-based telepresence systems. Both solutions also incorporate Teliris' patented Virtual Vectoring technology that ensures accurate eye-lines for single and multiple location meetings.

Along with the new solutions, Teliris also announced the launch of Teliris Custom Telepresence, a solution that lets telepresence features and capabilities be integrated into new environments like R&D labs, conference halls and large meeting rooms, factory floors, oil exploration platforms and other locations. The system offers telepresence wrapped around specific business requirements, the vendor said.