I Told You So, Cisco

Cisco's (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) Umi is a flop.

The networking giant was hoping to make a big splash with the Umi Telepresence, Cisco's first foray into consumer videoconferencing.

"If you've ever dreamed of The Jetsons' video teleconferencing vision of the future, have deep pockets, and have somehow slept through the past several years, has Cisco got a gadget for you," I wrote at the time.

Carrying a "stiff price tag that would even make Rosie the robotic maid blush," Cisco thought it would be able to sell a high-def video chat platform for $600, paired up with chunky $25 a month subscription plans.

Cisco overestimated the high-end market's potential. It also underestimated consumer intelligence. The Umi couldn't compete with subscription-free videoconferencing platforms put out by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , and Skype.

Logitech's (Nasdaq: LOGI  ) $300 Revue powered by Google TV -- paired with a $150 Logitech TV Cam -- could get friends and families videoconferencing in high-def without the monthly charges! Apple's FaceTime and Skype will continue to grow their user bases.

Well, Cisco sort of gets it now. This week it announced that it would be slashing the Umi's price by $100. It's also introducing a 720p model for those who don't need 1080p at a $399 price point.

Cisco's saving its biggest cut for its monthly plans. A 60% haircut now finds Umi connectivity only costing $9.95 a month or $99 a year.

It's a strong step in the right direction, but it's not going to be enough.

The Umi launched with great expectations. Cisco's plan involved an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show and actively marketed to Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) shoppers and Verizon's (NYSE: VZ  ) FiOS customers.

Maybe the better strategy would have been to go through Vonage (NYSE: VG  ) or other broadband telephone providers as a premium add-on for their existing voice customers.

The problem with Umi's out-of-whack pricing is that this is a product that requires a wide user base to work. You don't buy a Umi unless you know others already on the system. The emotional push of visually uniting long-distance families rings hollow when every home has to meet the tech requirements and have the financial means to bankroll the three-figure hardware investment and the $99 annual connectivity fee.

Viral means never having to pay a monthly usage fee when it competes with tech giants who have dramatically cheaper workarounds.

Maybe this is it. This could be as low as Cisco could conceivably go on price before it throws in the towel. By this point next year, Umi may be the next FloTV corporate discard. Cisco can't keep playing limbo forever. It obviously doesn't want to cheapen this offering to the point where it hurts its more lucrative enterprise videoconferencing. However, if an ordinary guy like me saw this "flop" coming months ago, why didn't a company that at one point commanded the country's largest market cap didn't see it?

One can't go through life with Umi-tinted glasses.

Will premium consumer videoconferencing ever take off? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Best Buy and Google are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Logitech is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool has written puts on Apple and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on Apple and writing covered calls on Logitech. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Best Buy, Google, and Logitech. Motley Fool Alpha owns shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz remembers how the viral nature of Zune's social sharing also failed to take off due to a lack of users. He does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this article. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 1:59 PM, andresmitchell wrote:

    I agree that anyone paying attention could have seen this coming from miles away. Next up on the list of product flops/strategic failures for Cisco? Meet the Cius tablet. If I were writing the marketing material for it, I would bill it as "the tablet nobody wants." Or "why by the best (an iPad) when you can buy second, third, or fourth best?" Again, why can I see it and they cannot? In 6-12 months, I am also going to be saying "I told you so, Cisco."

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 2:29 PM, roguefool0000 wrote:

    Interesting how all the comments here are all negative...

    If I may, I'll attempt to play the role of devil's advocate.

    If you are so confident and sure of your close-minded perspective, then I guess there is no need to scroll any further to see my rebuttle.

    First, close your eyes, take a deep breath and open your mind :)

    What if you had insight to information or had the ability to read between the lines, where you somehow found out that Cisco's true initial marketing strategy was to; Yes, seemingly throw out wide-spread net to the masses with what looked on the surface to be 'consumer play'. But in reality, the chess move was to target the 'small/medium business' audience cloaked in a consumer play (sheeps clothing) disquise.

    With this new found corporate insight, you also knew (found out) that Cisco was fully intending to announce (1 year after the initial Umi launch) that the Cisco Umi, low and behold, would somehow magicly have the capabilities to fully integrate with the thousands of globally preferred #1 and #2 corporate/government Telepresence units utilized around the world (Tandberg and Cisco).

    Also, in parallel with their phased-approach, with the recently announced bandwidth-friendly 720p Umi, $8.25 monthly fee planned reduction (ATT/Uversion and FZ/FIOS even lower price), and recently announced new Umi TP interoperability capabilities....Cisco also announced a FREE, yes FREE, Windows and Mac skype-like software application called 'Umi connect', which is Cisco's 'open source' HD video-phone application...as alternative to Skype.

    Cisco knew their new 'Umi connect' HD video-phone software application would not be accepted by the tech-savvy masses if the software application utilized closed-source architecture like skype and facetime. The 'Umi connect' app had to be fully compatible with open-source 'video phone' applications like google ichat, etc.

    On top of all this, Cisco annouced their XMPP client 'Cisco Jabber' that would be the business/consumer client video-phone app that runs on all smartphones/tablets, on any operating system (apple/android/rim/windows/nokia-symbian/etc) that ties all the systems together video/voice/data on 'open source' protocols, not skype-like or facetime-like protocols that don't like to play with the rest of the worlds XMPP families.

    Ok, you can open your eyes now...

    Maybe just maybe, Cisco Umi was always meant to first target corporate businesses that do not have the budget for a high-end corporate/government TP systems. However, these companies could maybe afford a 1080p or 720p TP video conference solution that helped them to meet their 'green' initiative, introduce travel savings at a miniscule $8.25 a month per company site. Now, this lower-end fully HD TP solution is able to have highly secure HD fully-immersive audio/video TP sessions with other businesses around the world as well as the the higher-end corporate/government TP systems? Hmmm?

    Now back to the 'consumer play'. If just by chance an extremely small percentage of the 560 million veteran tech-savvy Skype users were finally fed up with their, Yes free, but jittered-chattered dropped video conferencing expereriences, and decided to give an alternative a try? Hmmm, maybe, just maybe the Cisco 'consumer play' stategy might play out as a decent play after all.

    BTW, as a full-time telecommuter, I was a heavy oovoo/facetime/polycom/logitech/skype user. I need the video-phone capabilties for what I do for work. I unfortunately have to divulge that I am now Cisco Umi user. Through my experiences, apparantly your trials differ, but I feel confident in saying the Cisco Umi solution is by far the the best end-user experience available. BTW, the wife and kids love it too.

    roguefool0000

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 3:26 PM, DavesHere wrote:

    There are lots of people walking around with cell phones, still paying telephone companies $45-50 per month to maintain basic, no-frills landlines. At least the UMI is not such a mark of financial insanity.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 4:36 PM, SkippyJohnJones wrote:

    @Roguefool - The issue for Cisco is still one of scale. Skype is free, so users are willing to give the novelty of videocalling a try. Facetime comes bundled on products that users are already buying, so it is effectively free as well. Because the products are free, users tolerate a lot of imperfections. Telepresence is something that users need to experience to understand the benefits. Even at today's lowered prices, Cisco will struggle to sell enough low-end devices to ever achieve a real network effect. I won't buy one because nobody I know is buying them. The people in my network are making the same decision and counting me among the non-users to justify not buying Umi.

    Small businesses are likely just as hung up on network issues as individual consumers. But even if the product takes off in the SMB space, it won't benefit consumer sales in any way. I don't need to talk to my wife from the conference room while she's at home.

    I'm sure the product is superior to alternative offerings, but it will never get off the ground on its current pricing model. Cisco will need to give away the monthly service to stand a chance, but this would kill profitability. If Cisco can't make a bunch of money on these things, what's the point?

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 5:17 PM, BradReeseCom wrote:

    Hi Rick,

    The "customer reviews" for the Cisco Umi are very revealing on Best Buy's website, for example:

    This thing is an absolute joke. I was very excited and thought cisco innovated with new technology/hardware to make hd video conferencing possible in the non-business environment, but that is not the case.

    1) You need to buy two sets to have a standard two way video conferencing, that's $1200 right out the door.

    2) There is nothing new, behind the sleek looking box it's just a hd internet camera, which you can buy on your own at <$150 (for a highend one).

    3) It still REQUIRES you AND the person you are conferencing BOTH to have unrealistic high bandwidth internet, which can only be achieved in a dedicated business end to end network (and maybe highest fios package). For most of the home users, you will have the same lag/freeze when trying to do hd video, just like using any other hd camera.

    There is no innovation here folks, just same technology repackaged in a nicer box with 5x the price. Dont be fooled. Shame on cisco.

    -----------------------------------------

    I dont think people quite realize just how much bandwidth this thing uses. Here are my observations based on my own use and based on Cisco's website:

    * 480p requires 700-800 Kbps bidirectional (observed)

    * 720p requires 1.5 Mbps bidirectional (observed)

    * 1080p requires 2.5 Mbps bidirectional (based on Cisco's site)

    I have yet to actually experience full 1080p as my upstream speed is 2.0 Mbps. Also it will allow one side of the call to have lower resolution than the other (it will not reduce to the lowest common resolution) - for example, I could be sending 720p while receiving 480p. There's no easy way to tell what quality is being sent except look at the bandwidth on your router during the call.

    I also learned that if your bandwidth is near one of these cutoffs, it may start the call at the higher resolution and look terrible (splotchey, pixelated, slow) for about 10 seconds until it realizes that it can't maintain that resolution, and then it downshifts and starts working. This is annoying because it happens on every call with a specific person, so whenever I answer a call I have to wait 10 seconds for it to recognize that it needs to adjust the bandwidth usage before the video is workable.

    I can't overemphasize that this thing consumes a MASSIVE amount of bandwidth and you really need to purchase one of the premium internet plans from your cable modem or fiber optic provider. The 'economy' plan or even the 'standard' plans will likely NOT work well. Run speed tests (google for 'broadband speed test' to find a site) before buying to ensure you have both the proper upstream and downstream bandwidth, keeping in mind that if you're close to the threshold for a certain resolution, you might not reliably get that when you use the product.

    The other thing to mention is that you not only need to ensure that you have the premium internet plan with the right amount of bandwidth, but also that EVERYONE you call with an Umi has a premium internet plan. This can be a tough sell, and some people might be "trying it out" with a lower bandwidth plan to see how well Umi works. If you use your low bandwidth economy or standard internet plan, or the person you are calling doesn't have a premium plan that meets the requirements, you will have a terrible experience.

    If I haven't said it enough, you need to ensure that you have plenty of bandwidth on both sides of the connection (both upstream and downstream) to make this thing work. There's no way around it. Your internet bill is going to be huge with this high-bandwidth premium plan, which may not be the worst thing since it will make the expensive monthly umi service fee look small.

    I also see that periodically the umi loses touch with the mothership. I came back from a vacation and noticed that the umi had an overlay displayed on my TV saying that it was 'connecting to umi services...' and it sat there for at least a half hour, unable to make or take calls. My laptop, TV (netflix), and other computers were able to connect to the internet fine, so I think the umi either got confused, crashed, or the umi servers had a problem. I unplugged the umi and re-plugged it in and it connected without any problems, so it must have just got confused.

    I'm giving a 3-star rating because it works at high bandwidths, but there is a high monthly service fee that will hinder adoption which in turn makes it harder for me to use my own umi since nobody else has one.

    There are also some problems with it losing touch with the mothership and there is no diagnostic information available to figure out why. If the service fee were eliminated I would recommend this to a friend, but at this price each month I cannot do so.

    -----------------------------------------

    It's premium cost, but it does not deliver premium quality.

    I am not the technical geek, so I can not give too much technical comments. What I like to share is the experience of myself, an ordinary user with little or no computer or related technical background.

    First of all, the remote which your only control point to access the device, Its quality is totally disappointed. My 200$ blue-ray player has muccccch better quality remote. The remote included share the similar quality of plastic items you bought from Dollar shop. On my remote, 2 or 3 bottoms have problem to bounce back after you pressed them, I have to use a pin to pick it out. It turned out, one button dropping off after several days.

    And the input is a painful experience.

    I did not get good quality video, surely NOT HD. I called for help, then after 3 calls, I was told my network is too slow. But I already have high speed internet access. I have no problem to watch any streaming video. In fact, sometimes, we have 2 streaming video running at home at the same time. We never have any problem since 3 years ago, we upgraded to high speed internet. I don't know what kind of internet this device like to work with.

    So if you are a regular user, please remember high speed internet at home is NOT enough to make this device to run well!

    I made several Google video with my in-law. The experience is not acceptable. It may cut you off at anytime. But it may be a good feature if you come across some gossip person.

    Best Buy did provide great customer service. I was fully refunded after I explained the situation.

    If anyone like to try, please do buy from local Best Buy store. In case, you are not lucky like me, you can easily to return it.

    -----------------------------------------

    I think this product works great for Umi to Umi calls, but doesn't yet work well for Google Video Chat to Umi calls.

    Google Video Chat Unexpectedly Ends: I have an Umi that several others have called using Google Video Chat. Every so often the call will end, and the Google user receives a message saying that Google had a server error and would like you to provide some information to help them figure out what went wrong. This is something that Cisco should have already worked out with Google. If I am going to pay a premium price for a premium product it needs to work. This degrades the user experience.

    Designed for Umi to Umi Calls: This product is clearly designed for Umi to Umi calls. The Google Video Chat integration seems to be a stop gap measure until more dedicated HD conferencing devices are plugged into living rooms. The Umi video quality is excellent, but if you're doing Google Video Chat calls, don't expect anything special from the webcam user. This isn't Cisco's fault since they're at the mercy of Google's service, drivers, and the other user's webcam, but this is an important point to make if you are considering buying this product. It is worth mentioning though that the person signed into Google will get a nice quality (not HD though) picture from the Umi camera. Final thought: you really want Umi on both ends of the connection.

    Missing Technical Details: The Cisco website does not tell you much about the technical details... does the Umi encrypt conversations between the endpoints such that you should feel comfortable talking about bank account numbers over the Umi? Does this change if you do Google Video Chat to Umi calls? What kind of encryption is offered? What is the minimum speed required on your cable to get the lowest quality call going (I only saw the HD speeds mentioned). Cisco should provide a chart with what you can expect quality wise at different bandwidths and at what speed the call will simply not be established. The Cisco website seems to be more focused on the average home user and neglects the technical details that early adopters like me want.

    Requires Separate Google Video Chat Account: Since you can't call yourself with Google Video Chat, you need to have a second Google account that your Umi can use to sign into Google Video Chat, and then your Umi looks like just another Google user in the buddy list. This lets you call your Umi from your laptop using your normal Google account if needed. I found that periodically the sign in by the Umi would disappear from my buddy list on Google, meaning that either Google had a problem or that the Umi lost it's connection to Google. It always reappears after a minute or two, but I would have expected the Umi to always stay signed in and not to have minute-long blips of non-service.

    Voice Mail Light: The blue light on the camera turns on when you have a voice message. This means that even if your television is turned off you know you have a message waiting. Also, there is an 'umi' overlay on your TV display to remind you that there is an Umi message. This works well so that you don't have to constantly check for voicemail. You can also configure the service to send you an e-mail or SMS when you have a missed call or a voicemail.

    -----------------------------------------

    This review is primarily based on my first impressions after using the device for a day. I'm staring with some of the things I see as more important and ending with what I would consider minor issues.

    SUMMARY:

    There are a number of minor software bugs to be worked out and some features missing that one might expect for a device in this price range. However, since this is the first version of the Umi it is to be expected that the software and feature set is not yet mature. I would expect future software updates to add missing features and fix minor bugs. All of that aside, the core functionality of the device does what it is supposed to do -- make high quality video calls.

    DETAILED NOTES (GOOD AND BAD):

    Connection Information Not Available

    This device requires fairly high bandwidth to provide the best quality video. Unfortunately, nowhere does it actually tell you either (1) what quality video it is sending, or (2) how much bandwidth it is using. This means that during any given call, you don't really know what quality the other side of the connection is getting. An on-screen display of the connection status would be useful.

    Good Quality Video

    For a device in this price range, I expect a lot from the video quality and I was not disappointed. The camera can zoom in and pan/tilt to frame your sofa or desk for video calls, eliminating unwanted clutter from the picture. There is a limit to how far it will pan and tilt... if you're trying to pan more than 30 degrees from the center you might have trouble (I didn't measure the maximum pan but this is my approximate observation). Also keep in mind that if you zoom in, the maximum visible angle is reduced since the camera goes from wide angle to narrow.

    Easy to Use

    One of the neatest things about this device is that it works great for people that are not technologically savvy or who might not have a fast computer to do video conferencing. It is drop-dead simple to use and should work well for a wider range of users than would a PC-based solution. You could set it up, activate the service, and mail it to your grandmother and she'd probably be able to use it with minimal help -- it just works.

    Camera Shutter Problems

    This is probably something that could be fixed in a future software update, but the camera shutter can sometimes get 'stuck open' (and generally becomes unresponsive) and the only way to get it closed again is to power off the console, turn it back on, go into a mode that would otherwise open the shutter, and then exit that screen to tell the camera shutter to close. It should be noted that when the device powers up, it does not automatically close the shutter if it was open -- you must actually go into a screen that uses the camera and then exit that screen to get it to close.

    Google Users Cannot Leave Video Messages

    When calling a Umi from a Google video chat account, the Google video chat user will receive a message "At xx:xx pm USERNAME was not available for a video chat.". This shows up after about 60 seconds of ringing if the Umi user does not answer the call. There is no opportunity to leave a video message for the Umi user, as there is with Umi-to-Umi calls.

    Remote Control Delay

    When using the remote control, you need to give a short, deliberate pause between pressing buttons. For example, if you press the zoom out button, you need to wait a second before trying to zoom in. Same thing when navigating the menus - if you press up and then want to press down, you need to pause for a split-second before pressing the next button. Not a big deal, but it was something that was noticeable.

    Self-View Window Positioning

    The Umi lets the user show a self-view window on the screen during a video call. This is great because you can see how you look to the other user. However when I tried this during a Umi video call with a Google video chat user on the other end, the self-view was initially positioned on the right side of the TV (to the right of the Google user). Over the course of the video chat, the self-view moved to the upper-right corner of the screen and hid the 'clover' menu which made it impossible for me to access on-screen menu settings (like telling it to hide the self-view window, etc). To get the self-view to disappear, I had to remember where the menu option was and to try and navigate the menu without actually seeing it show up on the screen. Seems like a software bug with the positioning of the self-view window. Also, during the call, the self-view moved around the screen randomly, and the screen showing the Google user shrunk and grew as the self-view moved around... seemingly to accomodate the positioning of the self-view window. Very distracting. I think it's probably just a bug though and hopefully can be fixed in a minor software update.

    Menu Click Sounds Cannot be Turned Off

    This is a small annoyance, but the 'ding' noise that happens every time you click the up or down arrow on the screen menus cannot be disabled. Ding ding ding ding ding click ding ding ding ding ding ding click ding ding ding click. Was okay for the first few times I used the device, but quickly started to bother me after using it for a few hours.

    Ring Volume Cannot be Changed

    The Umi console contains a speaker so that it will play a ringing noise when you receive a call, even if your TV is off. This is a really great idea, but the volume cannot be changed from the settings menu. This isn't a big issue for me, but if someone had the Umi console in a cabinet and wanted a louder ringing sound, they'd be out of luck.

    No Power Switch

    The Umi is designed to be always-on, but it would still be nice if there was a power switch so that when you have to reboot the device you don't have to unplug it.

    Video Mail Auto-Answer is Not Configurable

    If you call Umi-to-Umi and the remote user does not answer after about 50 seconds, it goes to their video mail. Some people might want to adjust this to either a shorter or longer delay. I'm fine with 50 seconds, but it seems like it should be configurable.

    Expensive Monthly Fee

    Cisco is basically providing a directory service and some hard drive space in a data center somewhere for twenty five per month. This is a little pricey and is the single-most discussed negative I saw in every review on the Internet. Let's face it -- running the directory service costs pennies a year for Cisco, and storing video messages can't be that much more either. Cisco's margin on the service fee must be huge. One 'feature' of the monthly service that is noted on Cisco's site is that you get software updates as they enhance the service. But I get free software updates for any device I buy, whether it's my LG TV, my blu-ray player, or my iPod. I expect a product I buy to work and I expect to get software updates that fix problems. The only justification I can think of for such a massive monthly fee is that in the future they're going to be giving Verizon and other service providers a healthy portion of this service fee to push, advertise, distribute, and support these units in their customer's homes, and without this recurring revenue the service provides don't have as much of a reason to push this product to their customers.

    No Multiparty Call Support

    For the first version of this product, I don't see this as a major issue since they can add it later with a software update. But -- if video conferencing is to take off, they really need to add multiparty call support where you can have 3 or more people on the same call.

    No Skype Support

    The only people you can call are Umi and Google video chat customers. It would be fantastic if Skype, MSN, and Yahoo users could also call to my Umi.

    No Bandwidth Requirements other than 1080p

    The Umi website or materials should tell you the quality level you can expect (1080p, 720p, 480p) at different bandwidths. It provides guidance for achieving 1080p calls, but does not tell you the bandwidth for lower quality calls. This is important since someone may want to try Umi on a slower connection before deciding they want to upgrade their connection for full HD calls.

    HDMI Pass-Through and Boot Speed

    The Umi can take 30 seconds or so to fully boot up after applying power. This isn't a huge deal since the device is intended to be always-on. However, keep in mind that if you use the HDMI pass-through capability of the Umi, there will be 30 seconds after the device powers on until you can watch regular TV since the device must fully boot before the pass-through works.

    Camera Box Interior Color

    I'll admit that this is an idea I haven't really thought too much about, but with the glossy finish on the outside of the camera, it's hard to tell sometimes whether the camera shutter is open or closed because of glare or just because the camera box interior is black. It might be nice if the camera box's interior were either blue or red so that when the camera shutter is open it's obvious to anyone in the room. This is a fairly minor issue though since the camera shutter is *supposed* to be closed when there is no active call.

    Blue Indicator Light on Console

    There is a blue indicator light on the console. Since the Umi is intended to be always-on, it would be good if this could either dim after being on for an hour, or perhaps be configured to be inactive (for example, my LG TV lets me turn off the power indicator in the settings menu). The reason I mention this is that my Umi box sits right below my TV and the blue light can be distracting when watching TV in a dark room. I'll admit though, that this is a fairly minor issue.

    I hope this helps folks understand some of my experiences so far with the Umi. Admittedly some of these things are very minor, but I expect a certain amount of configurability and feature-set maturity for a device in this price range. I hope that future software updates fix some of these issues described above.

    -----------------------------------------

    Sincerely,

    Brad Reese

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 7:02 PM, kutani123 wrote:

    Cisco is "dead" dinosaur and still NOT listening!!

    The CEO is NOT doing his job allowing the Consumer and connected home executive do WRONG thing.

    Cisco does NOT have any clue or strategy about consumer and Connected home business and marketing model.

    Failed acquisition one after another Linksys, SA and Flip they're all "DEAD" and NOT contribute any good $$$ to its revenue stream but overhead resources as well as NONE of those technology were successfully integrated to Cisco product porfolio..

    Same thing will happen soon to Tanberg

    It's PERFECT time to SELL those useless BU, get OUT of consumer business and CONCENTRATE on its CORE business and compelling emerging technology which will become as $1B as expected by Chamber, along with many junk BUs such as Healthcare, Media system, sport entertainment, Network Management etc ..

    Else very soon Juniper, Huawei, Lucent-Alcatel, HP will EAT Cisco ALIVE!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2011, at 1:32 PM, newmediaguynyc wrote:

    Now that there are many video conferencing options, the water is muddied.

    Did you know that you can very easily and cheaply video conference through the XBOX Kinect?

    I tried it and it works pretty good and since I already subscribe to XBOX Live, there is no additional cost.

    Cisco and Logitech have uphill battles trying to monetize this singular service when Skype does it for free from new TV's and Microsoft includes it into the monthly fee for XBOX live.

    My 2 cents.

    Guy

    newmediaguynyc@yahoo.com

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2011, at 4:08 PM, jasonbrogdon wrote:

    Well I have to agree mildly with roguefool0000 somewhat that comments seem to be negative on here, but hey, this site is all about subjective thinking.

    I do like the Cisco Umi product. It is a bandwidth hog at times, but if you do your homework and prepare before buying, you will really enjoy the HD experience it provides.

    I use it as a small business owner and family member. It isn't a mainstream product yet. What you all forget is that it can be whatever it wants to be. The device is super smart and cloud based. They have already proved their ability to adapt by adding interoperability with the Telepresence product. This opens the doors for small/medium businesses and tele-commuters as well. In addition, you have people like me who live 1500 miles away from home.

    My sister has FiOS. I use Uverse, but my Uverse speeds are high enough to support the calls. I can talk to my family in HD with great detail during the evening, and wake up to a dreaded HD conference call in the mornings.

    Cisco is brilliant in their CORE business as one person's input above stated. Don't sell them short though, if they were capable of penetrating and owning a difficult marketplace like corporate/government sales, then they can definitely learn how to find a solid niche in the consumer based market as well.

    They provide great products for my business and I have been happy with the Umi.

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