Tag Archives | Cisco Umi

Cisco Axes Flip, Decides That ūmi Isn’t a Consumer Product

Wow. Networking kingpin Cisco, which had been making a major push into the home in recent years, has announced that it’s dramatically scaling back its consumer efforts. It’s shutting down its Flip camcorder group altogether, shifting the emphasis of its ūmi TV telepresence system (announced just six months ago) from the living room to business use, and refocusing its home networking business “for greater profitability and connection to the company’s core networking infrastructure as the network expands into a video platform in the home.” (I assume that means that it’ll concentrate its Linksys line on bread-and-butter products such as routers, rather than the media streamers and other consumer-electronics gear it’s sometimes experimented with.)
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A (Somewhat) More Affordable Cisco ūmi

Last October, Cisco unveiled ūmi, a consumer-oriented version of its business telepresence systems. It turned your HDTV into a very high-quality 1080p videophone, and it was neat. But at $599 for the system, plus $24.99 a month for service–times two, since it it assumed you knew at least one other family that owned one–it was too pricey to change the world. (I’ve only seen one in the wild–at the offices of a company that bought two so its Silicon Valley office could communicate with colleagues in Israel.)

Cisco made some announcements today that make it at least somewhat more likely that ūmi will show up soon in a living room near you. First, it knocked the price of the original version down from $599 to $499. Maybe more important, it slashed the price of monthly service from $24.99 to a more plausible $9.99. It also says it’s going to release a 720p version that will go for $399 and require less bandwidth. (3.5-Mbps up and down is recommended for the 1080p edition.) And it’ll offer free ūmi clients for Windows PCs and Macs so owners have more people to talk with.

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ūmi: Costli

Eric Savitz of Barrons’ has rounded up Wall Street’s responses to Cisco’s new ūmi home videoconferencing system. Consensus: At $599 for the hardware and $25 a month for unlimited calls, it’s too pricey. Of course, there’s a market for expensive-but-neat gadgets, but after chatting with several Cisco executives at its launch event yesterday, I can’t quite tell if the company is going after well-heeled gizmo nuts for now, or whether it thinks it has something that’ll appeal to the teeming masses right away…