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Cisco and Polycom Announce Lower Cost Endpoints and New and Improved Video Network Infrastructure

June 15, 2011 | William Zimmerman
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The Cisco MX200 (L) and Polycom's OTX 100 Compact (R)

Less than a week after rival Vidyo announced Panorama, their first foray into the multi-screen telepresence environments and newcomer InFocus launched their giant low-cost videoconferencing tablet the MondoPad,  Cisco and Polycom both announced new, lower cost telepresence and visual collaboration endpoints.  The companies also announced enhancements to their video network infrastructure solutions that power enterprise deployments of telepresence, videoconferencing, and unified communications. 

Cisco_MX200.jpgLet's start alphabetically with Cisco. The company announced the release of the Cisco TelePresence MX200  which they have dubbed the "TelepresenceEverywhere" endpoint, Cisco TelePresence Conductor, and improvements to endpoint software allowing for better, standards-based interoperability, and a number of TelePresence product enhancements.

The Cisco TelePresence MX 200 endpoint has a 42" monitor which has 2 embedded HD output speakers. The display is equipped with a 1920 x 1080 resolution capability, and a PrecisionHD camera atop that supports 1080p and 720p HD video sharing. The display is affixed to a stand. Its cost is $21,600 and should be available in July.


To handle the issue of ensuring that resources are available for companies that have a lot of meetings, many of which that are spontaneous, Cisco announced the introduction of the Cisco TelePresence Conductor which can manage as many as 30 different MultiPoint Control Units (MCUs).  As the name suggests, the conductor assigns meetings to the appropriate MCU and monitors conferencing components to failover down equipment. The Conductor is said to have comprehensive administrative control functionality and supports all standards-based endpoints. The TelePresence Conductor should be globally available toward the latter part of this year.

Point-to-point interoperability between Cisco and TANDBERG and H.264/SIP endpoints
Another big improvement that Cisco announced was an update to endpoint software (TC 5.0 and CTS 1.8) to finally provide point-to-point interoperability between Cisco TelePresence endpoints and videoconferencing endpoints made by TANDBERG, a videoconferencing company Cisco acquired in 2010, and other H.264/SIP endpoints from other manufacturers.  Previously the company was forced to connect Cisco TelePresence endpoints to disparate endpoints using a MCU which 1. Required an MCU and 2. Took up valuable MCU ports that could have been used by other multipoint meetings.

Other announcements include improvements by Cisco to its TelePresence Server 8710 and 7010v.2.2 to support up to 64 meeting participants in high definition (HD) (720p30) mode and up to 48 participants in full HD mode (720p, 60fps and/or 1080p, 30fps).
Improvement to Cisco's TelePresence Multipoint Switch which now supports the C Series &  EX Series endpoints and all Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP)-based endpoints.  The total meeting size has increased from 48 to 90 screens.

Polycom

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The Polycom OTX 100

Polycom announced two new single screen versions of its Open Telepresence Experience (OTX) solution.  The OTX 100 has an integrated furniture package and optional backdrop which allows the system to achieve a unified look and feel when conferencing with the company's three screen modular group telepresence system the OTX 300.  The OTX 100 includes a 65" screen with a back panel, an integrated table with two 17" monitors, and a touch sensitive control pane for $99,999.  The OTX 100 Compact is $79,999 and includes the screen and back panel but is designed to integrate into a room with existing furniture so lacks the table and monitors.

Polycom also announced significant enhancements to its video network infrastructure offerings. The company announced a software upgrade to its "UC Intelligent Core" an umbrella term for Polycom's complete line of video network infrastructure products including the RMX line of conferencing MCU's and the DMA product line of video network management solutions which provide call control, SIP registration/proxy, SIP to H.323 Gateway, and other call and network management functionality.

The new capabilities include the ability to load balance across up to 192 MCUs to support up to 75,000 devices (TP and VTC endpoints, tablets, video phones, etc.) and up to 25,000 simultaneous calls. 

Resources - Official Company Press Releases

Telepresence No Longer Just for the Board Room - New Cisco Value-Priced Endpoint Makes Widespread Enterprise Adoption More Affordable

Polycom Unveils Five New Innovations at InfoComm to Further Accelerate Unified Communications - Delivering on Scalability, Interoperability, Ease of Use, Price, Performance

New Software Release for the Polycom UC Intelligent Core Delivers Unprecedented Scale and Reliability to Enable Carrier-Class Telepresence in Cloud-Based Networks







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