Cisco Umi: Will Home Telepresence Jump Into SMB Market?
Cisco’s traditional TelePresence solutions typically target large enterprises and executive offices. But we’re starting to wonder if Cisco’s new, lower-cost, consumer-grade telepresence will make the jump into from residential homes into the SMB market. Here’s our perspective on Cisco umi TelePresence.
Umi works like this: You buy the box, the camera, hook it up to the ‘net and your TV, and voila! 1080p video conferencing in your living room. The whole kit sells for $599. Sounds good, right? Wait, there’s a few caveats. First off, there’s a monthly fee attached, second, there’s a few limitations to actually getting that 1080p image to and from your screen.
“To fully enjoy your Umi experience, your broadband download and upload speed must be:
Minimum 1.5 Mbps upload and 1.5 mbps download speeds for 720p
Minimum 3.5 Mbps upload and 3.5 mbps download speeds for 1080p”
For us living in Verizon FiOS land, the requirements are less than what comes with a standard subscription, but for anyone on regular old cable or DSL, it’s not exactly ideal for 1080p. What’s more, you need to buy a Umi service plan. Cisco’s own site doesn’t detail the price tag of the service plan, but Engadget did, which states there’s a required $24.99 monthly or $275 annually for Umi services.
That means for your family at home, to chat with your family anywhere else, it’ll cost you $1,225 just to get started. Suddenly Skype looks really good. But more practically, Cisco Umi could be perfect for the SMB or Enterprise with a branch office or two. Considering some TelePresence solutions are $200,000+ investments, $1,225 is a paltry drop in the bucket.
To be fair, the Cisco Umi hardware isn’t junk. The camera supports a motorized pan, tilt and zoom, the Umi box lets you share videos on FaceBook and YouTube, plus, you can also use Umi to chat with friends using Google video chat (but not Skype).
Overall, there’s a lot of potential here, with the price tag being the only stumbling block. So how do Cisco partners feel about this? There’s no word if Umi is part of what Cisco partners can sell, but certainly, it’s an option to bring up.
Tell us how you feel about Umi.