Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Video conferencing vaporware

The San Jose Mercury News reports Cisco Systems is collaborating with phone and cable carriers on products and services that would allow people to video conference using their televisions. Built on Cisco's TelePresence corporate-video conferencing system, the consumer version will debut within 12 months, the newspaper reported today.

Um, I don't think so. Short of a crash program to wire up homes throughout the United States with fiber optic connections over the next year, this is pure vaporware. Given the pathetic state of last mile Internet connectivity that can barely support low quality YouTube video, the key question is got bandwidth? The answer: nope and not likely except for that small slice of the nation that has fiber to the premises.

In many respects, we're not much closer to ubiquitous videoconferencing than we were nearly 50 years ago when Ma Bell demonstrated the first videophone at the 1960 World's Fair.


Tom said...

I think the key words are "video conference", which is not necessarily HD quality. Cisco's video expertise (Scientific Atlanta) can allow product to be rate adaptive, enabling the best quality for the available bandwidth (DSL, cable modem, or fiber). They also say nothing for universal service, only the availability of the product in 12 months.

I would bet they will have a product available in 12 months; probably through their residential channels.

Fred Pilot said...

Somehow I can't help but take a jaundiced view of these kinds of announcements when I read reports that parts of Cisco's back yard in Silicon Valley are still on dialup.

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