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Cisco TelePresence Now Connects to Homes

Cisco is extending its ūmi line of video communication and collaboration tools so home users will be able to connect with businesses using TelePresence. Cisco said the move will provide an opportunity for innovative new video services such as distance learning, tele-health, virtual professional services, and community services.

Cisco ūmi is a line of consumer video communication products designed specifically for living room use and group-to-group conversations. Cisco ūmi Connect is a free high-definition (HD) calling client for Mac OS X and Windows systems, while Cisco ūmi 720 and 1080 work in conjunction with existing HD televisions to convert them into video calling centers using the supplied HD video camera, console, and remote control. Cisco ūmi 720 and 1080 require an HDTV with an available HDMI port and a broadband Internet connection.

Features of Cisco ūmi 720 and 1080 include:

  • Full HD 1080p (ūmi 1080) and 720p (ūmi 720) video calling and recording at 30 frames per second with dynamic resolution scaling based on available bandwidth (1080p, 720p, and 480p supported);
  • Automatic adjustment to lighting conditions and background noise;
  • Optical zoom, automatic pan and tilt, auto focus, auto exposure, and auto white balance;
  • Motorized shutter for privacy control;
  • Built-in microphone array with software beamforming (a signal processing technique for directional signal transmission or reception) and embedded speaker for incoming call ringing;
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi or 10/100 Ethernet (RJ-45) networking;
    HDMI out port from ūmi console to TV and HDMI In port for media passthrough with select set top boxes and Blu-ray equipment;
  • Digital audio over HDMI or optical audio;
  • HD recording and sharing on FaceBook, Flipshare, and YouTube;
  • Video messaging for missed calls;
  • Recorded video and message retrieval from a computer (Mac OS X or Windows) or smart phone; and
  • Support for video calls via computer using a Webcam and ūmi Connect or Google Video Chat.

The service fee for Cisco ūmi 720 and 1080 is now $99 per year or $9.95 per month. There is no service fee for ūmi Connect for Mac OS X and Windows.

Cisco ūmi 1080 is now available for $499. Cisco ūmi 720 is scheduled to be available early this summer for $399. Cisco ūmi Connect is in beta trials and is scheduled to be available via free download this summer. Further information about Cisco ūmi can be found here.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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