Cisco TelePresence 3000 demo

October 4, 2021

Yesterday, I was granted a demonstration of the Cisco TelePresence 3000 system in the brand new office of Cisco Ottawa.

Using advanced visual, audio, and collaboration technologies, the “telepresence” solution is built to deliver real-time, face-to-face interactions between people and places in their work and personal lives. The components of these systems utilize standard technologies in conjunction with specialized applications and hardware to create a solution using the network and unified communications as core components to deliver this experience.

The Ottawa system was using H.264 video codecs to offer the highest quality and lowest bit rate along with 3 x 1080p high-definition cameras and 3 large 1080p display mounted across the table.

The effect is surprisingly convincing. When sitting at the conference table and looking across at the 3 screens it is as if you where sitting in front of a live person. The dimensions of the virtual participants are exactly right. So they look like they are real life size. The system also uses multiple speakers so that when the person sitting at the right of the virtual table speak the audio is coming from the right side of the virtual table. If the person move right to left while speaking the audio follow the person movement for a true transparent audio experience.

Each screen requires 5mbps of bandwidth. So the total bandwidth requirement for the call between the Ottawa office and Montreal was of 15mbps. Forget running that over the internet… for now.

The system cost is also fairly high. The tested system is worth about $300,000 and comes with everything that was in the room. Chairs, tables, Display, Camera, behind the screen lighting, sound system and Projector for shared laptop presentations. The system also requires a single network connection with proper QoS for perfect video distribution.
This is clearly what video conferencing need to be!

Former Cisco Exec Mike Volpi In Line To Be New Joost CEO

May 31, 2021

We knew several weeks ago that Joost was getting a new CEO but held the info until we could confirm the identity … multiple sources have now confirmed that Mike Volpi, who left Cisco earlier this year, is the choice for CEO.  Discussions are in final stages and an announcement could come early next week. No comment from Joost and no results yet from efforts to reach Volpi. Volpi—the Mike is short for Michelangelo—served on the board of Skype, also co-founded by Joost founder Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström.

Current CEO Fredrik de Wahl, who was CEO of Joltid (the Friis-Zennström company that licenses the p2p technology to Joost and Skype), has shepherded the project into beta launch, dealing with the various scaling issues and the programming growth. But the company recently closed a $45 million round and a change in leadership wouldn’t be unusual at this stage. Index Ventures lead the round with Sequoia; in this two-degrees world, Index Ventures also funded Skype and general partner Danny Rimer was on the Skype board with Volpi.

At Cisco since 1994, Volpi was considered a likely heir to CEO John Chambers but Chambers isn’t budging any time soon—leaving Volpi with little choice if he wanted to run a company. His last post there was as SVP-GM, Routing and Service Provider Technology Group. (Om had a insightful piece about his departure in February.) More as warranted.


Microsoft, Cisco face off over office VOIP communications

May 23, 2021

Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. agree that work communications – whether it’s email, messaging or phone calls – will eventually come together and be delivered over Web networks. The debate begins when the two deep-pocketed technology leaders – Microsoft in software and Cisco in networking equipment – argue over whose products will be the platform for the multibillion-dollar transformation of the office phone.

Speaking at Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit, executives from Cisco and Microsoft touted their own products to deliver “unified communications,” which combines Voice over Internet Protocol phone calls, email, instant messages and conferencing technology. Cisco has been acquiring various small, niche technology companies to build up its unified communications product line. Over the past year, it agreed to buy online video conferencing company WebEx Communications, messaging security company IronPort Systems and mobile software company Orative.

The rivalry deepened after Microsoft and Canadian network equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. announced a broad alliance in unified communications last year. Cisco, while forging a partnership with Microsoft to offer its customers Office, has also been expanding its alliance with IBM to develop unified communications applications.

Microsoft said software will transform VoIP phone systems with click-to-call capabilities right from its Outlook email system and a “presence” feature to see where you are and then decide whether to call, message or email. Microsoft also believes it can lower the overall costs of implementing and running an IP phone system by using its software instead of a total offering from traditional players.

The company plans to introduce its first product in this segment later this year with Office Communications Server 2007 and accompanying Communicator software.

[Via Toronto Star]