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Immersive Telepresence Still Enthralls on Tenth Anniversary

- January 28, 2016 - 4 Comments

This October will mark the 10th anniversary of the immersive telepresence segment – one that we pioneered with the Cisco TelePresence System 3000 Series.

And as if by kismet, on the eve of this tenth year, demand for immersive systems soared as never before. Just last month, we shipped the 1,000th IX5000 system, our latest-generation immersive telepresence product. This is the fastest ramp in the history of the immersive segment, happening within the first year of the IX5000’s introduction. That’s no small feat for a product with a $300K list price (a price that’s unchanged since the 2006 introduction, despite significant innovations.)

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What makes this milestone even more interesting is that some predicted the demise of the immersive segment just a couple of years ago. But we persisted despite the naysayers. Why? We were driven by the same vision we had 10 years ago:  To take a meeting table, cut it in half, and add 5,000 miles in between. And yet, it still feels like everyone is in the same room – life-sized, effortlessly, and almost magically.

As it was ten years ago, users today are awestruck the first time they experience immersive telepresence. For globally dispersed businesses, the benefits very quickly become real. Organizations become enthralled with how it can transform their business. Travel avoidance is an obvious benefit, but the immediacy of decision-making, the relationship- and trust-building, and the power to collaborate over thousands of miles are the true assets. This is why more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies have purchased our immersive systems.

In the fall of 2006, Cisco introduced the immersive telepresence category with the CTS 3000 Series. It was three 65-inch screens, stereo quality sound, and high-definition video all creating an awe-inspiring and movie-worthy experience. We even brought in a well-known Hollywood director to make sure the experience would be unforgettable. It was and still is.

Fast-forward 10 years and there are certainly more bells and whistles. But the crux of the product is unchanged. It’s a compelling collaboration experience that’s highly intuitive and reliable.

What has clearly changed is access, based on the order of magnitude increase in products shipped. Today, the benefits of immersive collaboration can extend well beyond the boardroom to global and project teams. Besides, who doesn’t want be enthralled while they’re getting business done?

Have you been enthralled by Cisco immersive telepresence over the past 10 years? Please share your story with me.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow 10years, how time flies. Phil Marechal wrote the original PRD for Cisco"s CTS3000. He recruited me to be part of the original sales team, focused on Service Providers. Telepresence Exchange allowed B2B and the market grew beyond intraconpany use. Managed Service of immersive Telepresence remains a great option for users. Congrats on keeping the immersive experience alive. Glad to have been a part of the team with Jose Leary and others that helped grow the Immersive segment.

  2. I am very proud to be a part of the original sales team that sold thousands of these units. Yes it was expensive and yes it was high-end, but you didn't sell it to IT or to the "video guy". You sold it to the business, and that's what made it work. Was it perfect? No. But it sure told a great story and help propel the industry forward. I am no longer in the industry and at Cisco, but I'm glad I had a hand in its success. Congrats to everyone that was involved, you know who you are.

    • I too remember when these first came out -- absolutely game-changing. Are there any of the Cisco systems set up where small businesses can access and use per hour (without having to pay the $300K)? Obviously there would have to be a center with comparable equipment at both ends of the conference call ... but just asking say -- between New York and say Sydney Australia?

    I had an opportunity to experience Cisco Telepresence and it really is a great way to conduct business meetings. However, the expensive price tag was a very hard sell for most of our customers. Its really good to know Cisco is still successful despite the obstacles.

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