Cisco Updates Videoconferencing Products

Cisco Systems hopes to hurry along what it sees as theinevitable process of making the Internet Protocol the universal transport by unveiling an IP videoconferencing solution, IP/VC, and the latest version of its video broadcasting suite, IP/TV.

The IP/VC line, which will be available in December, consists of a multipoint control unit, videoconferencing gateways, a video terminal adapter, and Cisco's Multimedia Conference Manager. Cisco's video offerings are part of its Architecture for Voice, Video, and Integrated Data program, unveiled last month, which lets companies choose best-of- breed products and solutions from a range of vendors.

IP/TV 3.0, which will be available in November, is a broadcast server built on the Windows Media Player platform. The hardware-software bundle can deliver live television- quality video across a wide area network in real time. IP/TV offers video-on-demand capabilities, and corporate applications include distance learning, online training, and business communications.

Kris Vollrath, multimedia and technology manager for SAP's communications group, uses IP/TV to let executives conduct meetings with employees sitting at their computers. "We plan to deploy version 3.0 when we move from an analog satellite system to digital," Vollrath says.

IP-based video is poised for growth, says analyst Christine Perey of Perey Research Consulting. "Video is going to make it to every desktop," she says. "Cisco's entry should inspire confidence among competitors that have sat around the edges."

Pricing for IP/TV 3.0 starts at $25,000. IP/VC is priced from $4,300 to $30,000, based on capacity and number of systems.

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