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Cisco TelePresence Is Dead. Long Live Cisco TelePresence!

A high five to Zeus Kerravala for hitting the nail on the head in his response to a recent Forbes article predicting the demise of telepresence as we know it. Here’s the key quote:

“The real question to be asked here is whether there is enough innovation left in telepresence to allow Polycom and Cisco to stay ahead of the commodity curve, and I think the answer to that is yes.”

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a dancing elephant.  Why, just a mere five or so years ago, telepresence was just a twinkle in John Chamber’s eye.  Allow me to meander down memory lane. . .

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Not Your Mother’s Signage! DSE 2012 Recap

Digital Signage Expo (DSE) was full of energy this year and the continued expansion of the digital signage market was clearly evident. I’ve watched the digital signage industry evolve over the past five years from static content on traditional screens to customized, rich media content on a multitude of connected devices. At this year’s DSE the continued innovation and excitement was undeniable. The exhibit hall floor was packed with attendees who were eager to learn about the advancements in the technology and the industry as well as how to get the most out of their digital signage deployments. Throughout the EXPO floor, speaking sessions, and events the buzz was around interactive and engaging signage.

Cisco announced new digital signage innovations, delivered through the Cisco® Interactive Services solution set, that provide enhanced interactive capabilities through video, Web applications and touchscreen digital signs. Cisco also announced new customers that showcase the continued expansion of the digital signage market, including the Canadian city of Edmonton and parx casino® in Pennsylvania. In addition, Cisco received four Apex Awards, handed out by the Digital Signage Federation recognizing innovation and excellence in the digital signage industry. For more insight from the show floor, check out this video of Erica Schroeder, Director of Marketing for Enterprise Video at Cisco.

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Cisco Digital Signage at DSE 2012: The Power of Engagement

We are just days away from the world’s largest international trade show dedicated to digital signage, interactive technology, and Out-of-Home networks. The Digital Signage Expo (DSE) show is being held in Las Vegas from March 6th – 9th and with the rapid evolution of the digital signage market, I am very excited to attend this year’s show.

Come visit Cisco in booth 1011 and see first-hand the latest innovations from Cisco and its ecosystem partners. From video walls, to live streaming on a digital sign, to engaging interactivity see how Cisco Digital Signage Solutions bring new and innovative experiences to life. While you are at the booth, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win an iPhone 4S! Read More »

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Cisco Live On-Demand: Powered By Cisco TelePresence

If you have attended Cisco Live, you know that Cisco technology powers many different features of the show.   Digital media signage, IP phones, VXI thin clients, hundreds of wireless APs, and of course the enterprise-grade Cisco network.

At Cisco Live 2011 in Las Vegas, we activated more Cisco technology, this time from the TelePresence family.    Each Cisco Live event has up to 500 breakout sessions for attendees to learn and interact with Cisco experts.  Recording those sessions for on-demand viewing has always been a priority for our team, and using Cisco technology is always a win for our attendees.    During this event, we put our Cisco TelePresence products to the test, bringing together codecs, HD video, automation, and transcoding systems together to create a unique experience for our virtual audience.

For this pilot capture project, we focused on four session rooms.   Each room was outfitted with a Cisco C-Series C40 or C90 codec, connected to the following:  laptop VGA feed, presenter audio feed, and our Cisco network.   Each codec comes with an HD camera, which was placed on a tripod and connected to the C40.   The camera sits unmanned, and can be controlled remotely.   Once the audio levels are set, the system in the room runs unmanned at this point.

In our control room, we ran a Cisco Video Communication server,  which registered the units onto our network, as well as handled call routing.   With over 40 sessions to record over three days, we looked to automate the system where possible, so we turned to the Cisco TelePresence Management Server.  This device allowed us to program in all session metadata as well as start/stop times.   This reduced the possibility of human error, and enabled the crew to focus on other duties.   To facilitate the recording the sessions, we used the Cisco TelePresence Content Server.  This device has two main functionalities- session recording and transcoding.   It can record multiple sessions at once, and can transcode to just about any format.

A few moments before the session began, the TCS connected to the corresponding room, and began recording both the video and the VGA feed.   At the end of the session, the TCS disconnects and begins to transcode the video capture.   Once the video is transformed into an editable format, a technician will edit the file and then place it back into the transcode queue for the final pass. The slides are captured in real time, allowing perfect sync with the presenter discussion.

The output you see here is the final version.

This pilot session capture project demonstrated the versatility of TelePresence to go beyond just video conferencing, to a system that creates, transforms and shares content.    Our team plans to increase the use of this system at future events across Cisco, enabling us to further bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual world.  You can watch these sessions, as well as over 1000 others at www.CiscoLiveVirtual.com.

If you have questions or comments on these Cisco TelePresence systems, please respond in the comments.

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