Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | October 31, 2011 |


Happy Birthday Cisco TelePresence: Look What's Happened in the Past 5 Years

Happy Birthday Cisco TelePresence: Look What's Happened in the Past 5 Years Video might finally be at the point where it acts as a rising tide that should lift most boats--competitors' as well as Cisco's.

Video might finally be at the point where it acts as a rising tide that should lift most boats--competitors' as well as Cisco's.

Last week Cisco held a couple of industry analyst and press roundtables to celebrate the 5th anniversary of it’s TelePresence solutions. Now, TelePresence itself is much more than five years old. The first commercially available product was launched in the mid 90s from a company called Teleport, which became Destiny Conference that Polycom acquired in 2007. Even after that, Marconi had a cool product called VIPR, and HP of course, had Halo. But it was Cisco that evangelized the space and made TelePresence a household term (well, at least for us geeky folks).

I remember the first time I experienced TelePresence. It was in one of the Cisco buildings (10 I think) and Ron Davis, the Cisco AR person for it at the time, convinced me to try it out. I walked into the room, rolled my eyes and thought to myself that the last thing I wanted to see was another video conferencing solution. After just a few minutes though I really did appreciate how different it was from the other traditional video solutions that I had used. And the rest, shall we say, is history.

Since then, Cisco has advanced the technology significantly. It's integrated into calendaring systems, interoperable with WebEx, Callway and other video systems. There are more versions of TelePresence that expand the solution from the original immersive room experience to bring in more participants in more locations.

Five years ago, TelePresence was something only a few of us had heard about; today it's something that many of use regularly. Cisco isn’t the only vendor that’s been pushing TelePresence over the past five years. Obviously, the integration of TelePresence into our lives wasn't solely due to Cisco. HP had Halo, Polycom, as they're prone to do, followed Cisco's lead and came out with their own solution, and Lifesize came out with a great set of products that were much lower cost and provided an excellent experience as well

In addition to the infrastructure market, there have been several innovative happenings on the services side that you could argue were actually even more important. Anyone that's ever looked at the video market would say that one of the big problems video has had is that it never benefitted from the network effect. Sure there are a lot of video nodes out there, but they're not connected nodes. Well, that problem is rapidly falling.

Cisco launched its B2B service, which many big telcos such as Orange, AT&T, Verizon and NTT have adopted (you would have thought they would have tried to solve this problem prior to the Cisco service!). In my opinion, Tata though has been the gold standard for telcos with regard to robustness of service and aggressiveness of go-to-market. Additionally, Glowpoint has rolled out a robust, independent B2B exchange that many service providers have joined. Vidtel rolled out a "meet me" service where participants can just dial in to a video "bridge" and connect with others for a single monthly fee. Finally, the B2B problem is being addressed.

The media events by Cisco were more than just a "Hey, we're five years old" celebration. The company also made a number of product announcements, including less expensive and portable services. The products included the TelePresence MX300, a multipurpose system that sets up fast for smaller conference rooms. Cisco also announced its Jabber Video for TelePresence, an HD video calling application designed to allow users to invite others to join a TelePresence call from a desktop, laptop or tablet. Additionally, Cisco also announced its Callway service (similar to Vidtel) that allows customers to lease the equipment and unlimited calling for $99 per month.

Lastly, Cisco announced a vertical TelePresence solution--the VX Clinical Assistant--a purpose-built mobile cart for healthcare settings. The VX Clinical Assistant allows medical professionals to communicate with patients right at the bedside. Over the next few years, I would expect to see more vertical TelePresence solutions.

All of these announcements are Cisco's attempt to "democratize" video by making it more affordable for companies of all sizes and easier to use for non-technical individuals. While there are lower cost versions of the various solutions, for example Vidtel versus Callway, Lifesize versus Cisco TelePresence, etc, there isn't a company out there that can deliver video in so many different forms with so many different experiences.

To that I say, Happy Birthday Cisco TelePresence, thanks for pushing this market in the past five years. Keep pushing, though, as there are a number of smaller, innovative companies right on your heels, such as the previously mentioned Vidtel and Lifesize, and hot startup Vidyo. Ultimately though, video might finally be at the point where it acts as a rising tide that should lift most of these boats.


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.