Cisco Brings Its Technology Into the Living Room

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Ad Age, 10/13/10

CMO Sue Bostrom on New Video Phone for Consumers

Cisco has long been known as a maker of back-end equipment, the routers and hubs that connect offices to the internet. But lately the firm has jumped into the consumer market, perhaps as a result of its relatively flat sales over the past few years, which have hovered around $40 billion annually since 2008. But a key growth area has been its consumer products, having bought Linksys in 2003 and Flip Video in 2009.

But last week the 26-year-old firm unveiled its most ambitious consumer product yet: Umi, a high-definition, high-bandwidth video-teleconferencing device retailing for $599 with a $24.99 monthly service fee. The product includes a camera that clamps to the top of anyone’s HD TV and a set-top box that connects to the TV’s cable receiver and to the internet via a broadband box. Though the product requires a companion to get the full HD effect, it’s compatible with Google video chat and may soon be compatible with Skype. Basically, it’s a webcam on steroids.

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