Many are predicting a swift death for Cisco's UMI, a home teleprescence system for high definition video conferences with grandma.
Did you ever think you would live long enough to hear those two terms in the same sentence: video conferencing and grandma? Right, and that's the first reason everyone and their brother thinks this is a product that won't live long enough to see Christmas (and it doesn't go on sale until mid-November).
Yes, I agree, at $599 for the appliance and another $24 a month for the monthly service, Skype and the built in webcam will do just fine for most people who want to web conference with extended family.
But what about the small to midsize businesses who can't afford thousands of dollars for enterprise level video conferencing solutions? Perhaps UMI is just the ticket.
By all reviews, the UMI delivers a substantially nicer experience than a cheapo web conference. It does create a high definition presence of those joining the room remotely. If this spares your company one less plane ticket for business travel to a meeting, the UMI will have paid for itself.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @oricchio
Last updated: Oct 8, 2010
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio