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System Integration for the Connected Home

Is UMI the Home Conferencing That Cisco Really Wants?

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Cisco launches ūmi (prounounced You-Me), a home videoconferencing system. A premium single-function product ($600 in USA for camera STB and remote), it faces competition from smaller, cheaper (as much as 4X) multi-function video conferencing rivals.

Cisco UMI, home videoconferencing

The 1080p HD video conferencing camera connects to an internet-enabled console that allows video chat (with remote control) via the living room TV. A monthly subscription ($25 in USA) is required. Umi accepts video calls from Google video chat, as well as records videos to use as messages or share online.

Of course, Skype remains the toughest competition: 40% of calls placed over Skype are video calls. But compare ūmi as a single-function device to Logitech’s camera as part of Google TV, Skype as integrated with internet-enabled TVs, and Microsoft and Sony cameras as part of their game consoles (with motion-sensing capabilities). Nor is ūmi interoperable with Cisco’s corporate telepresence systems (so no executive toy here).

On the surface, it looks like ūmi will not be the mass market product Cisco so desperately wanted but that's not stopping Best Buy from putting it on American store shelves as we speak.

Go Cisco Brings Out ūmi