Cisco Debuts Umi Video Conference System

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San Jose - Cisco introduced an HD video conferencing system for consumers known as Umi Telepresence.

The device, which operates via an HD television and a broadband Internet connection, comes with an HD camera, a console and remote. Once the Umi is connected to the TV and Internet, the remote control provides access to an onscreen user interface that lets people make Umi calls, access video messages, manage contacts, and customize profiles and settings.

The hardware has a $599 suggested retail and tacks on a $24.99 monthly fee for unlimited Umi calls, video messaging and video storage

Users are able to record their own Umi videos that can be emailed or shared on Facebook and YouTube, or they can place and receive video calls from a computer with a webcam and Google video chat.

Cisco said it is working with Verizon to bring the Umi to Verizon FiOS customers early next year, and it is working with Best Buy to bring it to Magnolia Home Theatre stores this holiday season. Within Magnolia Home Theatre stores, consumers will be able to experience Cisco Umi, get advice on the product and required broadband, and purchase the Umi, with installation and support provide by The Geek Squad, Cisco said.

Features of the Umi include new-video notices via text message, the ability to pan and zoom the room, call screening and blocking, and personalized ringtones.

Cisco said it would use the fall to kick off a major marketing campaign.

The Umi is scheduled to be available for preorder on Oct. 6 from

and Oct. 18 from

. It is scheduled to be available to consumers on Nov. 14 in Best Buy/Magnolia Home Theater stores and Cisco's site.


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