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Can Cisco reinvent its lagging videoconferencing business?

May 29, 2014 | Telepresence Options

"To the cloud!" the company seemed to say, crossing its fingers behind its back.

Cisco-videoconf

Story and images by Michal Lev-Ram / CNNMoney

FORTUNE -- You may not care which videoconferencing solution your company uses -- provided, of course, that it actually works -- but plenty of vendors do. In fact, the competition among old and new providers is fiercer than ever.

Last week, Cisco (CSCO), a top player in videoconferencing and other collaboration tools, announced a number of new products intended to keep it ahead of the pack. Among them: The DX70 and DX80 all-in-one "desktop collaboration devices," which combine a monitor, videocamera, and phone in one device. The devices, which are priced at less than $1,000 and less than $2,000, respectively, are intended to expand the range of products Cisco offers corporate users, the company said.

But the more interesting and significant news had nothing to do with hardware. Cisco announced a cloud-based videoconferencing service that lets users collaborate with each other from any device, Cisco-made or not.

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