Light Reading

Cisco Wants to Tidy Up Desktop Videoconferencing

Mitch Wagner
5/20/2014
50%
50%

SAN FRANCISCO -- CiscoLive -- Cisco introduced hardware on Monday designed to make personal videoconferencing affordable, attractive, and practical. The DX80 is a 23-inch computer monitor that doubles as a high-performance videoconferencing unit and touchscreen Android tablet. The DX70 has a smaller display with the same videoconferencing technology and Android capabilities, designed for people who aren't looking to use it as a primary display.

Videoconferencing has failed to follow the technology path blazed by smartphones, which combine phone, digital camera, notepad, GPS, music player, and PalmPilot -- previously all separate devices -- into a single compact unit, said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and GM of the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group. But desktop videoconferencing users still deal with device proliferation. "Today's typical desktop is cluttered with monitors, speakers, cameras, phones, keyboards, and PCs. Rather than creating an experience that enables productivity, technology gets in the way," he said.

Also, bandwidth and processor requirements for video are generally too steep for many users. Put it together and that makes videoconferencing hard to use, complicated to configure, and lousy quality.

The DX units are intended to change that. The big model looks like an iMac, and can serve as an external PC monitor. It's also a standalone Android tablet. The 24-inch DX80 will be priced under $2,000 and the DX70, with smaller screen, will be under $1,000.

The DX80
Source: Cisco
Source: Cisco

The DX70
Source: Cisco
Source: Cisco

Both units can serve as standalone videoconferencing devices, but the bigger DX80 is also designed to replace an external display for a desktop computer.

The devices incorporate hardware, software and connect to a cloud service designed to ensure an easy-to-use, high-quality video experience. Onboard processors handle compression and decompression for good video and audio on low bandwidth connections. The units have four microphones to automatically detect -- -and suppress -- sound coming from sources off-camera, to minimize distractions from loud-talking co-workers in open offices, and barking dogs and crying babies in home offices.

The touchscreens allow the devices to be used as shared sketchboards, and tilt easily to a 45-degree angle so people sharing a videoconference can start sketching out ideas onscreen as easily as they might do with paper and pen in a face-to-face meeting, Trollope said.

Android support allows the devices to run applications, including purpose-built vertical apps for industries such as healthcare. The units connect to existing address books and calendars, including Active Directory, Google, and Apple iCal. Integration with address books and calendars eliminates another obstacle to videoconferencing and conferencing systems like Cisco's WebEx, where people make clerical errors transcribing and misdialing dial-in numbers and conference codes. With the DX units, uses just click a big JOIN button when it's time to join a conference.

Similarly Cisco launched its Collaborative Meeting Room cloud service, which assigns a virtual meeting room to each individual, where they can meet with other people on a variety of devices and services, including WebEx, Microsoft Lync, Polycom conference phones, web browsers, or any other service supporting the SIP protocol. That service, which extends WebEx incorporating Intercloud, will be available from Cisco partners later this year.

Several customers took the stage with Cisco to describe how they're using the DX units. Paras and Associates provides translation services for healthcare providers. CEO Melinda Paras sees videoconferencing as an intermediate level of service that's better than phone. Though not as good as face-to-face translation, video is less expensive. Every nursing station in the world should have a unit like the DX, she declared.

David Day, global director of WorkPlace Services for Dow Chemical, sees videoconferencing as a way to extend Dow corporate culture to younger employees and the developing world.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/21/2014 | 9:43:15 PM
Re: Again
gconnery - "Seriously, we all have desktop computers.  Why would we need another device to do video conferencing on?  In case Cisco hasn't noticed we're all running Skype or Google Hangouts or WebEx or whatever on our PCs already.  Without spending another $2000 on a dedicated device that will only work with Cisco's own conferencing solution?"

Cisco says desktop computers result in substandard videoconferencing that people don't want to use. These devices will be great for videoconferencing and they'll make good desktop displays too. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/21/2014 | 9:40:39 PM
Re: Again
I'm here at CiscoLive, where coinicidentally I ended up talking with someone about the Flip acquisition. They said it's likely Cisco dumped flip because Cisco realized the B2C business is outside its bailiwick. 

Which leads to the obvious question: Why did Cisco buy it in the first place, then?

At a press Q&A, John Chambers said Cisco isn't getting into the B2C business ever again. Theyr'e done with that. Of course, Chambers is retiring soon and maybe his successor will feel differently.

One interesting element about this announcement is that it's an attempt to create a B2B product that's as enjoyable to use as an Apple product. B2B products usually aren't enjoyable for the end-user at all. 
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/21/2014 | 9:10:51 AM
Re: Again
I've always wondered why the need for a dedicated video system, with the proliferation of existing means for video conferences, most of which are free. And Cisco left a bad taste in my mouth after shutting down the Flip camera which was one of the cooler items and most convenient cameras I've ever had. I used it for years until it broke down recently. But, Cisco is smarter than me, and they must have some pretty good intelligence or guesses as to what they're doing with the new projects. Maybe they just have a lot of existing customers to sell the newest video versions to?
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/21/2014 | 8:12:46 AM
Re: Again
@gconnery, 

Yeah, pretty much I can use facetime or skype or Habgout to talk to anyone fairly easily without having to install a cisco product. 
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/21/2014 | 8:09:50 AM
Re: Again
Given the failure of Umi I hope they are going to change a lot of things about this platform. But it does seem that Cisco loves all things IP video right now and maybe they have something new in store for us. 
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/21/2014 | 8:08:32 AM
Re: Again
I also thought the flip was a cool gadget, but had some shortcomings like its software platform. Also it was really a poorly timed item as the mobile device really became the go to camera and video camera, why would I carry another device when I had one on my mobile phone which I am always carrying anyway. 

 
gconnery
50%
50%
gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/20/2014 | 6:12:39 PM
Re: Again
Yup.  Not a great idea either time.


Seriously, we all have desktop computers.  Why would we need another device to do video conferencing on?  In case Cisco hasn't noticed we're all running Skype or Google Hangouts or WebEx or whatever on our PCs already.  Without spending another $2000 on a dedicated device that will only work with Cisco's own conferencing solution? 
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/20/2014 | 12:30:24 PM
Re: Again
It was always a bit random for Cisco, I think, but I was a fan. However, I will say I have since discovered my iPhone works just as well. Just had to buy a tripod add-on.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/20/2014 | 12:16:57 PM
Video love
Of course Cisco loves video in all it's forms. Video is very demanding of networks. Similarly, Exxon loves Hummers.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/20/2014 | 12:15:47 PM
Re: Again
I was very surprised by the death of the Flip. It was a great product. I expect Cisco saw it as a market too small to bother with. And perhaps Cisco foresaw that smartphones would eliminate the entire category.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.