Cisco Adds Endpoints, Video Wares To TelePresence Lineup

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 09:52 -- Chad Mize

Cisco (NSDQ:CSCO) Thursday went live with new products and services for enterprise video and digital signage, adding to several areas of its video portfolio the week before Cisco Partner Summit kicks off.

Chief among the releases is Cisco's TelePresence Content Server 5.0, a recording and video streaming platform through which users can record high-resolution TelePresence meetings and then review and play back the recording through Cisco's Show and Share technology.

Show and Share, which is Cisco's webcasting and video sharing suite, has also been integrated with Cisco Quad, the networking vendor's collaboration and social software offering. The Content Server will be available in March.

Next up is enhancements to Cisco's MXE 3500 media engine, which now integrates with Cisco Pulse -- an analytics tool for tagging words and searching for speakers in videos -- has a new browser-based interface and offers live-streaming using Cisco's recently debuted Digital Signage software.

Among the video product launchces is a 47-inch Cisco TelePresence endpoint for offices and small conference rooms. Dubbed the Cisco TelePresence 1300 Series, it can be wall-mounted or freestanding, supports Cisco TelePresence Touch 12-inch, and will be available starting in the summer.

There are also two new Unified IP Phones, the 8941 and 8945, which have built-in video cameras and 5-inch high-resolution displays, as well as Bluetooth enablement and support for various headsets. Cisco is touting the 8941 phone as the first IEEE Power-over-Ethernet Class 1 video phone in the industry, thanks to its low power draw and "deep sleep" option for reducing power after work hours.

Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, TelePresence, Emerging Technologies and Consumer Business at Cisco, cited video workflow as important for getting enterprise customers comfortable with video infrastructure.

"As the market transition to video takes place globally in the enterprise, we believe it's critical that our customers have the ability to easily work across the video workflow: from the creation and production of video, to consumption and sharing capabilities," De Beer said in a statement.

Video and collaboration are major growth areas for Cisco, which in its most recent fiscal quarter report noted a 37 percent year-over-year increase in collaboration revenue.

"Video is the next voice. It's going to be how we communicate," said Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers in an interview with CRN this month. "Video will have much more cost justification whether it's entertainment or productivity, whether it's how you enable a collaboration, how you enable virtual organizations together, [or] whether it's just permitting you to travel halfway around the world."

Jan. 31 was the date by which Cisco said it would map Tandberg VARs into its partner and technology programs following the completion of its Tandberg acquisition nearly a year ago.

VARs have largely applauded the integration, which also shed light on how Cisco plans to distribute Tandberg video products going forward.

By Chad Berndtson, CRN
Feb. 24, 2011 9:45 AM EST