Cisco plots SMB telepresence systems, focus on interoperability

Cisco announced plans to better target small and mid-sized businesses with its telepresence portfolio and address interoperability for its gear.

Cisco on Tuesday announced plans to better target small and mid-sized businesses with its telepresence portfolio and address interoperability for its gear.

With rivals such as Polycom and Logitech's Lifesize increasingly pitching interoperability, Cisco moved to address the issue via an update to its end-point software.

Add it up and companies and their conference rooms are prepped to have multiple telepresence vendors. Cisco via its Telepresence Conductor effort is aiming to rise above the mix to manage multiple vendor environments.

On another front, Cisco is moving to address the lower end of the market, which is address well by rivals. Thomas Wyatt, general manager of Cisco's telepresence infrastructure unit, said the company is looking to deploy more end point systems with a consistent user interface. "We're creating a simple installation platform where you plug a system into a network and power and it is auto provisioned," he said.

Among the key details:

  • Cisco is launching its Telepresence MX200, an endpoint system that can be auto provisioned and running in 15 minutes or so. The MX200 has a list price of $21,600, but can fall to four figures with volume deals. The MX200 will launch in July.

  • The company's Conductor software aims to allow admins to handle multi-party requests and ensure enough network ports are available on the fly to better manage bandwidth. Conductor is designed for small businesses as well as large companies. The system should be available before the end of 2011.

  • Cisco's TC5.0 and CTS 1.8 software will be updated to be interoperable via all end-point systems via industry standards. Cisco needed to make the move given that even its own endpoints weren't interoperable.
  • To complement those efforts, Cisco rolled out a series of servers, switches and management software.

The general idea for Cisco is to allow users to set telepresence calls up easily with one button.

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