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Cisco Unveils Video Conferencing Systems

Cisco Systems on Monday introduced two video-conferencing systems, one for use in individual offices and the other for group training and team meetings.

The latest additions to the Cisco TelePresence portfolio are the System 500 and System 3200, which support high-definition video. The systems are the latest example of Cisco's strategy of promoting video conferencing as a good addition to a network upgrade. Many companies are adopting video conferencing to reduce travel and to make more efficient use of employees' time.

The System 500 is designed for one-on-one meetings or enabling employees to join larger group meetings from personal workspaces, Cisco said. The product is also being marketed as an entry-level system for medium-sized businesses.

The system integrates a 37-inch display, camera, microphone array, speakers and lighting; and can be placed on a desk, mounted on the wall or stand on a pedestal. The System 500 also can be used as a second monitor in a person office or as digital sign through integration with the Cisco Digital Media System for digital signage and desktop video streaming.

The System 3200 builds on the six-person TelePresence System 3000 by accommodating triple the room capacity. Designed for headquarters sites or large regional offices, the system includes a two-table configuration for up to 18 participants. It also supports video at up to 30 frames per second. Customers of the System 3200 include business software maker SAP.

In addition to the TelePresence hardware, Cisco also offers services for installation. The company introduced streamlined services for System 500 installation and configuration. The company also recently enhanced the multipoint capabilities of its TelePresence system, which can now scale a single meeting up to 48 sites.

The System 500 and 3200 have list prices of $33,900 and $340,000, respectively. Both are scheduled to ship in the third quarter. For System 3000 customers, Cisco offers a System 3200 upgrade kit for $90,000.

Also on Monday, Cisco competitor Teliris introduced three high-definition, video-conferencing products, including the Teliris Personal Telepresence for private offices and individual users; the Express Telepresence and Custom Telepresence.

The personal system, which has a list price of $32,500, can broadcast video at 30/60 frames per second and includes a 40-inch display, and an integrated microphone and audio system. The Express product is a two or three 46-inch screen system that accommodates up to six participants. Prices range from $99,000 to $125,000.

The Custom system is designed for integration into new environments, such as research and development labs, conference halls and large meeting rooms, factory floors, oil exploration platforms and more.