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Thursday, October 07, 2010
Cisco Unveils Home Videoconferencing Product

Cisco Systems launched Cisco ūmi telepresence, a home videoconference system, a high-quality rival to Skype and other low-cost providers, as the network equipment maker seeks to expand in the consumer market.

Cisco ūmi connects to an existing HD television and a broadband internet connection to create a video communications Experience.

tHE SYSTEM includes an HD camera, a console and a remote. It supports automatic adjusting to lighting conditions and various room sizes. The remote control provides access to an on-screen user interface, through which users can make ūmi calls, access video messages, manage contacts, and customize their profile and settings. Users can also record their own ūmi videos, which they can share on Facebook, on YouTube, or via email. Users can even keep in touch with people who don't have ūmi by placing and receiving video calls from any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.

Cisco is also working with Verizon to bring the ūmi experience to Verizon FiOS customers early next year. The two companies have been conducting successful trials of Cisco ūmi over Verizon's 100 percent fiber-optic network.

Cisco is also working with Best Buy to bring the Cisco ūmi experience to Magnolia Home Theatre stores this holiday season. Within Magnolia Home Theatre stores, consumers will be able to experience Cisco ūmi, get expert advice on the product and required broadband, as well as purchase Cisco ūmi, with installation and support provide by The Geek Squad.

Cisco ūmi Key Features

* Clear and lifelike full HD experience.
* An existing HD television and a broadband Internet connection are all that is needed.
* Cisco ūmi is easy to set up and simple to use - users can be together at the touch of a button.
* Video calls can be placed and received on any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.
* Users will never miss a ūmi call with video messages.
* Cisco ūmi videos can be created and then shared on Facebook, YouTube, or email.
* Video messages can be checked on-the-go with a laptop.
* New video message notices arrive via text on a mobile phone.
* From the comfort of the couch, users can pan the room and even zoom in to get up close and personal, or pull back to include the whole family.
* Privacy features like call screening and blocking, and a camera shutter that closes, keep users in control of their privacy.
* Personalize with a unique video greeting, ringtones, and calling favorites.
* The stylish design is a perfect match for the living room and HD television.

Cisco ūmi is scheduled to be available for preorder on Oct. 6 from umi.cisco.com and Oct. 18 from bestbuy.com. It is scheduled to be available to consumers on November 14 in Best Buy/Magnolia Home Theater stores, bestbuy.com and umi.cisco.com for the suggested retail price of $599 with a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited ūmi calls, video messaging and video storage.

Cisco already sells a high-end videoconference system for businesses. However, the company tries enter the consumer market and establish itself as a consumer brand. But the price of umi may mean mass adoption is years away.

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