Home Telepresence Product Delivers Lifelike Video Get-Togethers Through Existing HDTVs
Cisco today introduced Cisco umi telepresence, a first-of-its-kind consumer product that brings family and friends together in HD video, whether they are around the corner or across the country. Cisco umi connects to an existing HD television and a broadband internet connection to create a video communications experience that is so clear, natural and lifelike, that users will see and hear their loved ones, right down to the twinkle in their eyes and the tone of their voices, as if they were in the same room.
Cisco umi, which includes an HD camera, a console and a remote, takes advantage of Cisco's heritage in business telepresence, to deliver an immersive video experience that fits into every home, automatically adjusting to lighting conditions and various room sizes to provide superior video and audio performance.
Once Cisco umi is connected to an HD television and a wired or wireless broadband connection, a remote control provides access to an on-screen user interface, through which users can make umi calls, access video messages, manage contacts, and customize their profile and settings. Users can also record their own umi videos, which they can share on Facebook, on YouTube, or via email. Users can even keep in touch with people who don't have umi by placing and receiving video calls from any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.
“Cisco is bringing people together, driving new video experiences that change the way we communicate, connect, and enjoy entertainment — in the home, at work, and on the go,” said John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco. “Cisco umi will bring the unique telepresence experience into living rooms and change the way we are able to be together with family and friends. We envision a future where technologies like this will play a role in connecting consumers with businesses to enable the delivery of new services, ranging from education, to health care, to financial services — to the home.”
“Cisco umi is the ultimate way to capture the simple joys of being together with our distant friends and loved ones, whether they are around the corner or across the country,” said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's emerging technologies business group. “From singing happy birthday every year to reading bedtime stories every night, umi lets friends and families experience life's special moments together.”
Cisco is also working with Verizon to bring the umi experience to Verizon FiOS customers early next year. The two companies have been conducting successful trials of Cisco umi over Verizon's 100 percent fiber-optic network.
“Verizon's high-IQ networks are incredible incubators of innovation that connect our customers to the things and the people they care about, how and when they want,” said Eric Bruno, vice president, of consumer product management at Verizon. “We plan to be the first service provider to offer Cisco umi to our customers, delivering an amazingly clear and lifelike experience that brings family and friends into your living room.”
Cisco is working with Best Buy to bring the Cisco umi experience to Magnolia Home Theatre stores this holiday season. Within Magnolia Home Theatre stores, consumers will be able to experience Cisco umi, get expert advice on the product and required broadband, as well as purchase Cisco umi, with installation and support provided by The Geek Squad.
Cisco umi Key Features and Benefits
- Users enjoy amazingly clear and lifelike full HD experience.
- An existing HD television and a broadband Internet connection are all that is needed.
- Cisco umi is easy to set up and simple to use — users can be together at the touch of a button.
- Video calls can be placed and received on any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.
- Users will never miss a umi call with video messages.
- Cisco umi videos can be created and then shared on Facebook, YouTube, or email.
- Video messages can be checked on-the-go with a laptop.
- New video message notices arrive via text on a mobile phone.
- From the comfort of the couch, users can pan the room and even zoom in to get up close and personal, or pull back to include the whole family.
- Privacy features like call screening and blocking, and a camera shutter that closes, keep users in control of their privacy.
- Personalize with a unique video greeting, ringtones, and calling favorites.
- The stylish design is a perfect match for the living room and HD television.
Pricing and Availability
Cisco umi is available for preorder on October 6 from umi.cisco.com and October 18 from bestbuy.com with a November 14 ship date, the same day it arrives in Best Buy/Magnolia Home Theater stores. Suggested retail pricing is $599 with a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited umi calls, video messaging and video storage.