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ūmi – The Way We Live Will Be Changed Forever

The concept of people communicating over video is not a new idea.   Growing up in the  1960s, I remember several things that illustrated video communications even then.

The first that comes to mind is the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.  I remember visiting the fair and playing with AT&T’s version of video conferencing for the home called the “videophone” (see photo).   Although it was black and white and the quality was reflective of the time, I remember being mesmerized by the device.

The second example was on a tv show that was near and dear to my heart called “The Jetsons” (1962).  Jane used video to communicate with her girlfriend over a device that looked like a TV with some really futuristic antennae coming out of the top  (see cartoon).   I liked that contraption. Maybe I should recreate it with foil for my ūmi.

The third example is Star Trek (1966).   Captain Kirk and the gang used a lot of video from the deck of the Enterprise to communicate with friends and enemies.  They also took the concept to another level by moving matter (people) through teleportation.  “Beam me up Scottie!”  Let’s stick to moving bits at this time.

So the vision of video being used for communications has been around for over 50 years.  So why has it taken so long?

During the 80s I witnessed the introduction of video conferencing in the Enterprise but it failed because of four reasons.
1.    Cost – $1M+ per room

2.    Complexity – needed a staff to connect and maintain

3.    Quality – video and audio quality was reasonable but not immersive

4.    Limited – few people to connect with and usually limited to a few internal company locations

Because of these factors utilization was low and eventually people stopped using it.
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10 reasons why “ūmi” could “better” your life

#10: Gaylord Focker meets the in-laws

Last week, ZDNet released a pretty funny gallery of photos called “10 reasons why telepresence could screw up your life.” Well, I liked the post so much that I decided to rebuttal and start a blog series called “10 reasons why “ūmi” could “better” your life.”

At one point or another, the day comes where you have to meet the dreaded “in-laws.” You look through your closet a dozen times and feel as though you have nothing to wear and you prepare yourself by rehearsing what kind of questions you will be asked and how you should answer them. The awkward moments are inevitable and at the end of the night, all you can do is be thankful that it’s over.

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Meet the Parents.” Male nurse, Gaylord Focker, is nervous about spending the first weekend with his live-in girlfriend who he would like to marry. He soon learns that he needs to get her father in law’s permission who need I remind you is in the CIA!

So here are a few instances where Cisco ūmi could have made Focker’s life better…

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Verizon is Bringing Cisco’s ūmi to FiOS

Last week, Cisco introduced Cisco ūmi™ TelePresence, a first-of-its-kind consumer product that brings family and friends together in HD video, whether they are around the corner or across the country.  Cisco ūmi connects to an existing HD television and a broadband internet connection to create a video communications experience that is so clear, natural and lifelike, that users will see and hear their loved ones, right down to the twinkle in their eyes and the tone of their voices, as if they were in the same room.

Cisco is working with Verizon to bring the ūmi experience to Verizon FiOS  customers early next year.  The two companies have been conducting successful trials of Cisco ūmi over Verizon’s 100 percent fiber-optic network, which delivers what a 2010 PCMAG.COM reader’s survey rated the fastest Internet speeds in the United States.

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Cisco ūmi – Seeing is Believing

Cisco unveiled its long-awaited home telepresence product – Cisco ūmi™ (you-me) — publicly for the first time yesterday at an invitation-only media gathering in downtown San Francisco.

The reaction from those lucky enough to experience Cisco ūmi up close was nearly universal – there were some “wows,” plenty of “cools,” and quite a few “when can I get it” reactions.

Like a live Bruce Springsteen concert, you really have to see it, hear it, and feel it, to truly appreciate it. To get a taste of the Cisco ūmi experience, here are some opportunities to check it out:

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Bringing Telepresence into the Living Room

Today, we announced that Cisco is bringing telepresence into the living room. Cisco umi telepresence is Cisco’s first medianet-ready consumer endpoint and represents a significant step in our video strategy.


What does this mean for Cisco channel partners?

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