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Cisco Eyes New Video Opportunities

Cisco is continuing its assault on the telepresence and the high-definition video teleconferencing market that was accelerated earlier this year with company's $3.4 billion acquisition of Tandberg. The numbers are compelling, says Cisco: over 50 percent of all Internet traffic today is video, and within three years the volume will be 90 percent, and it wants a bigger slice of the video pie.

The company has made a number of video-related announcements, including video-enabling all of its new enterprise collaboration endpoints, native interoperability between all voice and video-enabled offerings with Cisco Unified Communications Manager, two TelePresence endpoints, and the Cisco WebEx Meeting Center with high quality video. The networking giant is also reaching out to service providers with the TelePresence Exchange System, a service creation platform of managed and hosted telepresence services.

The Cisco TelePresence EX60 is a desktop system with a smaller footprint and a list price that is approximately 30 percent lower than the EX90. The Cisco TelePresence System 500 32-inch (CTS 500-32) is a pedestal-based endpoint designed for executives with a smaller form factor and an approximate 30 percent lower list price than the CTS 500 37-inch. In addition to seeing speakers in full-screen mode, Cisco WebEx Meeting Center with high quality video users can share desktops simultaneously and connect to Cisco TelePresence meetings via Cisco WebEx One Touch. It also features ActivePresence, which shows all the meeting participants in a strip along the bottom of the screen.

Zeus Kerravala, senior VP,Yankee Group says Cisco, unlike the competition, understands videoconferencing and collaboration. "Cisco is trying to democratize it, trying to make it accessible for everyone." He says this approach is good for the entire industry and he expects them to take a big leap over competitors like Polycom.

The bulk of today's digital video - 85 percent - is being created by consumers, but the business-to-business usage is slowly edging up, says IDC's Robert Mahowald, research VP, SaaS & cloud services. "Chief uses are viral marketing, customer care in B2C and, increasingly, B2B scenarios. These are valid cases, they have been developing for awhile. Training has been a key use case and it is growing, but most growth has been in marketing, and B2x self-service."

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