Cisco Enters HD Teleconference Industry

Online network equipment maker Cisco Systems is jumping into the HD videoconferencing system and dubbing it "TelePresence." Cisco has been expanding lately from its core business of routers and switches into related fields, especially regarding video. In early 2006, Cisco bought cable STB maker Scientific Atlanta. Cis
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Online network equipment maker Cisco Systems is jumping into the HD videoconferencing system and dubbing it "TelePresence." Cisco has been expanding lately from its core business of routers and switches into related fields, especially regarding video. In early 2006, Cisco bought cable STB maker Scientific Atlanta.

Cisco said it will offer two versions of the HD system, beginning in December. The high-end TelePresence 3000 will be installed as a small conference room with three HD screens. HD-enhanced participants in other locales will be displayed life-size, and will appear to be sitting across the conference table from the in-person attendees. The basic system, the TelePresence 1000, is geared for one-on-one meetings.

Cisco figures it could take about three years for the product to turn a profit and predicts HD videoconferencing will become a billion dollar business in perhaps six years. The San Jose-based company is counting on the demand for such services initially coming from international firms with offices in places such as Bangalore, India, and Shanghai, China.

Initial competition for TelePresence will likely come from HP's Halo Collaboration Studio.