It's good to be Cisco: The company can take its shots at offering business and consumer products, knowing that any failure can be absorbed and those that hit it big create revenue through hardware and software sales. The company double dips, of course, because any successful initiative benefits Cisco's huge networking business by filling the Internet with more packets.
Cisco was one of the early champions of telepresence. In those days, the company opted for the high-bandwidth “total immersion” approach. It has wisely come down-market since then, both in its own product line and in the move to acquire Tandberg.
That migration is reaching its logical conclusion with plans to offer a consumer version of telepresence. The product, CNET says in a Consumer Electronics Show advance story, will utilize the home's existing high-definition television and broadband connection. Tests with Verizon and France Telecom will be conducted this spring.
Cisco, of course, is a big player in the unified communications game. The company's involvement in the home telepresence market is a sure sign that it is preparing a home and small office/home office (SOHO) UC push. Ultimately, it's all about filling the pipes with packets, and a high-definition, telepresence-based meeting with a child's guidance counselor (with a collaborative adjunct looking at college applications) is as bit-rich as a corporate session using the same technology.