Cisco Looks to Simplify Videoconferencing in the Enterprise

Mike Vizard
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Though you hear about the popularity of videoconferencing in business, the reality is that only 7 percent of organizations have implemented systems with quality video equipment. And among those that have, the systems sit idle most of the day. The two primary reasons for this are that setting up an actual video conference is still too complex for the average business user and it’s simply a lot easier these days to use Web-based videoconferencing applications instead.

Cisco this week promised to change all that with the announcement of three Cisco TelePresence videoconferencing systems for different-sized rooms. Rowan Trollope, senior vice president for Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, says the systems are easy to install and actually use. In addition, Cisco has made the systems compatible with the H.265 high-definition videoconferencing standard to improve quality and most existing flat-panel television displays to significantly reduce the cost of implementing its systems.

Trollope says Cisco is trying to remove both cost and complex use issues from the videoconferencing deployment equation. Instead of requiring dedicated administrators to set up a video conference, Trollope says “even Cisco executives” can now set up their own videoconferencing sessions in a matter of minutes.

As part of that effort, Cisco is also beta testing new software that makes it possible to control the videoconferencing systems via smartphones or tablets. The overall quality of the experience has been enhanced because the systems can automatically focus on whoever is speaking at any given moment, says Trollope.

Of course, the existence of videoconferencing systems that are much easier to deploy and use may not forestall the growth of video on the Web. But for those organizations where high-definition video in a group setting can make a fundamental difference to the business, the whole videoconferencing picture just got a whole lot clearer.

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