Cisco Upgrades Its Video Portfolio

Cisco Thursday unveiled upgrades to its videoconferencing and video sharing product portfolio, including a 12-inch touchscreen device for controlling endpoints and two new IP desk phones with integrated cameras and 5-inch displays.

The company also announced the Media Experience Engine (MXE) 3500 network appliance and the Cisco Telepresence Content Server 5.0, which is designed to make it easier for any worker in an organization to produce video content. The latter can be used to deliver messages from executives, for training and for other purposes.

Pricing on the various products was not announced. The MXE 3500 will ship in the second quarter, while the Content Server 5.0 is scheduled to be available in March, Cisco said.

Using the video production and distribution capabilities in the new Cisco gear could reduce video production and distribution costs by up to 90%, said David Hsieh, vice president of marketing for Cisco's emerging technologies business group. Companies could save time and money by reducing the number of professional contractors hired to produce videos and to set up distribution systems, he added.

Hsieh said large companies are buying more video and videoconferencing products to serve all parts of their operations. "We're making video easy to create and consume, changing the complexity of high-quality video presentations," Hsieh said in an interview today.

Content Service 5.0 can be used to record TelePersence videoconferencing sessions in 1080p resolution at 30 frames a second, and then allow for immediate review, playback and sharing through Cisco's Show and Share technology.

The MXE 3500 can be used to help tag words from a speech to a text engine to allow quick searches for videos containing specific content.

The new desktop IP phones, the 8941 and 8945, can be used to supplement a traditional desktop computer. Both feature 5-inch video displays and built-in video cameras.

Cisco also announced a 12-inch touchscreen display that can be used to control TelePresence gear and videoconferences. Previously, Cisco offered similar capabilities through its IP phones, but integrated that ability with touchscreen controls that Tandberg was offering, Hsieh said. Cisco acquired Tandberg last year.

Cisco also announced a 47-inch display unit, the CTS 1300, which is big enough for telepresence sessions with three to six people.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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