ciscologoFinally, Cisco introduced a telepresence package for less than $100,000 per unit.

Monday, May 12, 2008 saw the introduction of the Cisco Personal TelePresence 500 product which includes a camera, a monitor, a codec, a microphone array, a top-of-the-monitor light and a control stick for $33,900. 

The light is a good idea since participant-in-the-face lighting for most office setups (does your desk face the window?) is not widely used. 

This is disappointing on two counts. First of all the price point is about 6 x higher than others in the market and 8 x higher than typical monitor-included executive video systems. Secondly the only industry standards supported by this platform is the 120 V power supply and the Ethernet interface on the back of the codec.

Designed to allow Cisco TelePresence rooms 1000 and 3000 to communicate with lower cost devices, Cisco's portfolio still lacks interoperability with other HD video conferencing systems. They have no timetable for enabling interoperability choosing instead to drive domination. 

It seems that it may be left up to third parties to reverse engineer the complex codec algorithms and introduce interoperable bridges and services capable of binding diverse software telepresence systems together. Why not? Amdahl made a successful business reverse engineering the Front End Processor of IBM's SNA environments saving customers millions. Will Codian/TANDBERG be up to this challenge?

They've also announced a room for 15 people called the TelePresence 3200 for $340,000 list.

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