Cisco umi telepresence, a unique consumer product that brings HD video communication into the home, will change the way family and friends interact. The recently launched Cisco umi utilises an existing HD television and broadband internet connection to give users a video experience that is so realistic, they will feel as if they were in the same room as family or friends miles away. Video conferencing has long been associated as a business tool, reserved for a corporate boardroom environment, however with the launch of umi, Cisco intend to break into the global home entertainment market.
Cisco umi, which comes with an HD camera, a console and remote, takes the successful elements of Cisco’s TelePresence technology that has transformed the way businesses communicate, to deliver an unrivalled video experience with exceptional video and audio performance. The umi interface, allows users to make umi calls, manage contacts, create and access video messages, and even record videos which they can post on Facebook and YouTube. Furthermore, Cisco umi also allows users to communicate with non-umi users by utilising existing webcam set-ups and Google video chat.
Despite negative press regarding the cost of the product, which reports suggest will be a major barrier to its success, industry experts are more positive about the quality that it delivers. It’s this quality that Cisco believe the market is ready for, with users becoming frustrated with the problems encountered with free applications. As more and more consumers turn towards HD and even 3D Television, the natural progression is towards high quality video communications in the home. But the vision for Cisco umi will go beyond just bringing family and friends together, which John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco explains:
“We envision a future where technologies like this will play a role in connecting consumers with businesses to enable the delivery of new services, ranging from education, to health care, to financial services – to the home.”
It’s this vision that is evident in South Korea, with Cisco’s smart city experiment. Sogndo, a green sustainable city being developed on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land, is a huge telepresence experiment. Every home will be fitted out with Cisco TelePresence technology and residents will be able to communicate with family, friends, work colleagues, businesses and health services.
With the launch of Cisco umi and also Cisco’s social experiment in South Korea, they are continuing to set the standard for the future of video communications in the same way that they have for many years in the business world. If the way people communicate, not only with friends and family, shifts towards a unified video approach in everyday life, what will be the impact? Will people become more productive? Will more lives be saved? Will governments become better? Will people become more reclusive? What will be the impact on businesses such as high street retailers, restaurants and bars?
The answer to these questions lie somewhere in the future, but for now, Cisco are showing us the art of the possible!