Cisco has entered the video conferencing market for the first time with a new range of IP based products and also extended its IP/TV streaming media offerings to support Microsoft's Windows Media platform.
The networking giant claimed that its core skills should boost its IP/VC family, which includes a multipoint control unit, video conferencing gateways, a Multimedia Conference Manager to deal with quality of service, and a gatekeeper/proxy tool, to improve on the reliability and cost issues traditionally associated with video conferencing.
Heather Rose, group manager of product marketing of Cisco's video Internet service unit, said: "Video has been using analogue, cable, ATM, CD Rom or ISDN, but we've yet to see a move to an IP platform. Video conferencing has not been seen as reliable, taking some users 30 minutes to set up the equipment before making a call. There are also high cost charges associated with ISDN conferencing."
She attested that Cisco would "help the market achieve stability and reliability", adding that its technology would enable hardware vendors to slash thousands of dollars off their product prices. She claimed that video conferencing client hardware that currently cost around $5,000 could fall below $500 as more companies adopted it.
Cisco has also added support for Microsoft's Windows Media platform to its family of IP/TV streaming media products to provide a unified programme listing of Windows Media, MPEG and IP multicast formats. The IP/TV range includes the Cisco 3400 broadcast server and associated software.
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