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Cisco Unveils Umi Home Telepresence System

Cisco has unveiled its Cisco Umi home telepresence system, designed to allow consumers to conduct video conferences from their living room.

With the launch of the home telepresence product, Cisco aims to take on VoIP service provider Skype, which, until now, has enjoyed exclusive access to this emerging consumer market.

However, critics point out that the system's high price might prove a liability for the company. US consumers can purchase the Umi home telepresence system at a price of $599 for the equipment, and paying $24.99 per month in subscription fees.

Ken Wirt, vice president of consumer marketing for Cisco, said in a statement to eWeek: “It’s a premium product at a premium price point. We had to make sure our product would fit into whatever home the customer has.”

The new Cisco system is compatible with a HD TV and comes with a HD camera, a powerful embedded microphone, a remote control and a console.

Using a high-speed broadband connection coupled with the console, users will be able to make VoIP voice and video calls, record and play videos and share the video on social networking platforms such Facebook and YouTube.