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Hands on with Cisco's TelePresence SX10 Video Conferencing System

July 7, 2014 | Telepresence Options

Story and images by Nick Mueller / CDW

The Cisco TelePresence SX10 Quick Set is an all-in-one unit that combines with any flat panel display to video-enable small collaboration spaces. It offers affordability for small-to-medium-sized organizations just starting out with telepresence, or in extending telepresence throughout an enterprise.

TL;DR Version

You can equip a four-to-eight person conference room with a Cisco SX10 and a 55-inch-plus display for under $5000, possibly as low as $3000. In other words, you could reasonably equip a conference room in your organization for the cost of a two-person coast-to-coast business trip.


The size of an IP phone, the SX10 offers up to 1080p30 video and WXGAp5 content, a high-quality 2.5x wide-angle camera, built-in and/or external microphone, HDMI and VGA for content sharing, and a new remote or the Cisco Intelligent Proximity iOS app for in-room control. Register it to CDW's UC cloud for call control, multipoint conferencing and B2B video, or use an on-premises CUCM/BE6K/VCS/3rd-party SIP call control solution.

Cisco priced the SX10 to move and, as a result, it offers a lot of value for the dollar.


Read on for additional information, pictures and more.

The Long Version

Cisco's SX10 stole the show at Enterprise Connect and beyond. No other device or product from the show generated as much buzz or as many calls from CDW clients. In my opinion, this little package contains the power to rewrite the story of video conferencing in the enterprise space.

CDW was fortunate enough to participate in the SX10 Early Field Trial (EFT) and received a SX10 for testing. So let's start with the hardware - that's what it's all about!

The (Small!) Hardware Package

For those accustomed to bulky video conferencing codecs or solution kits, the SX10 is small and compact. It's about the size of a Cisco IP phone or the standard Cisco 7-inch TelePresence Touch.

In this package you get:

  • Up to 1080p30 main video with up to WXGAp5 (720p) content
  • Integrated 2.5x Optical or 5x Digital zoom camera with 83-degree field of view
  • Built-in microphone with echo cancellation and automatic gain control, with optional standard Cisco wired mic-pod
  • HDMI or VGA with stereo audio connectivity for content sharing (both cables could be run out to the conference room table)
  • The new TRC6 remote control with simplified UI
  • Support for Cisco's new Intelligent Proximity iOS app
  • PoE for power (!), just 12 watts (!!)
  • Wall Mount Kit or optional Screen Mount Kit for free standing screens


That's quite a lot of capability for the price. The device targets the same rooms as the Google Chromebox for meetings - smaller four- to eight-person conference rooms. But instead of a bunch of repackaged consumer technology, you get the high quality optics and audio of a Cisco TelePresence endpoint, and full interoperability with standards-based equipment out of the box.

The (Small!) Price

For those accustomed to pricey video conferencing codecs or solution kits, the SX10 is almost comically inexpensive as well. On stage at Enterprise Connect, Rowan Trollope, general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, announced the device would ship at an average street price of roughly $1500-$1700 (hardware only). This price point suggests an enterprise could equip conference rooms for as little as $3,000 - depending on display selection and services. This compares incredibly favorably with other enterprise-grade vendor solutions.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Like any solution, the SX10 makes some compromises.

The Good

You can't beat the price for the quality. No other major vendor offers a solution quite like this. It's great for small-to-medium-sized conference rooms, easy to install, and offers a great mix of capability versus form factor and cost.

The Bad

There's nothing terribly bad. The few quibbles I can offer are:

  • Low content sharing frame-rate - 5fps may be fine for static presentations, but any animation or video will look a bit jerky.
  • Lack of included touchpad. Unfortunately the touchpad is an optional add-on device, with additional cost. That said, with the iOS Intelligent Proximity application available to control the endpoint, this may not be a big deal for your organization.

The Ugly

Nothing ugly! It's beautiful!

But what does it mean?

If your organization deploys on Cisco CUCM or other standards-based video conferencing (VCS, 3rd-party call control), the SX10 provides you a powerful tool to equip small- and mid-sized conference rooms at a very affordable price. Between the endpoint and a 55-inch conference room display, it's cheap as chips. It's practically a no-brainer.

If your enterprise doesn't have a video conferencing solution today or just a limited endpoints-only deployment, CDW offers a cloud call control solution based on Cisco HCS and perfect for new deployments. Cisco's BE6K can make an excellent on-premises foundation for video call control for the SX10 and other standards-based endpoints as well.

Looking beyond the endpoint itself, enterprises should also develop a strategy around conferencing and B2B video - you've got the endpoint, now your users will want to call and collaborate with others. Enterprises can look at CDW's forthcoming cloud-based video conferencing offering or Cisco Personal Multiparty conferencing with Cisco CUCM or BE6K to fill the conferencing need. CDW's cloud solution includes firewall traversal for B2B video, and Cisco CUCM or BE6K can utilize Cisco Expressway-C/-E for a cost-effective firewall traversal solution.

This is a great solution to equip conference rooms. Far too many enterprises only video-enable 3-5 percent of their conference rooms. With SX10 removing the cost barrier, this metric can be flipped on its head. It's not unreasonable to think about 95-97 percent video-enabled conference rooms enterprise-wide with the reasonable price point and great capability set of the Cisco SX10.

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