Cisco Makes TelePresence Affordable for SMBs

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As part of its new focus on small and midsize organizations, Cisco Systems Inc. has added a hosted option and lower-priced endpoints to its TelePresence conferencing platform, which typically has been used by large businesses.

Now, SMBs in the United States can buy or lease endpoints and connect them to a hosted service called Cisco TelePresence Callway, part of Cisco’s cloud technology. The Callway service, managed by Cisco and sold through authorized partners, cuts down on TelePresence cost and complexity – two reasons smaller businesses haven’t used TelePresence. Callway subscriptions start at $99 per month and include unlimited calls to any TelePresence endpoint, as well as to any standards-based video device from third parties over the Internet.

Meantime, Cisco is planning some additional TelePresence features, slated for launch early next year. First, there’s Jabber Video, HD video-calling software that invites participants to join TelePresence calls from their PCs, laptops or tablets. Then there’s the MX300 multipurpose room that can be set up in about 15 minutes for up to nine people. Finally, the VX Clinical Assistant, designed for the medical industry, will support applications such as remote patient consultations and doctor education.

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