Cisco Systems Inc. has launched a $599 home video conferencing system, a high-quality rival to Skype and other low-cost providers, as the network equipment maker seeks to expand in the consumer market, Reuters reports. The high price, and a $24.99 monthly fee, might make it tough for Cisco to win much of a following among consumers, many of whom are using free online video chat services, analysts said. But they also said the move shows the company is set on keeping up double-digit revenue growth even as its traditional routing equipment business matures, by expanding its target from business clients to consumers. “I think the difficulty is probably the monthly price. $300 a year forever, that’s a lot of money,” said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. “But this is a premium product. And I think it will set the imagination off with a lot of people.” The home TelePresence system, called “umi,” features a camera and console that connects to a standard high-definition TV and works over a high-speed internet connection. Its biggest selling point is high-quality, real-time video without the pixelations and interruptions of low- or no-cost online services. It also allows unlimited calls, video messaging, and video storage…

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Denny Carter

Dennis has covered higher education technology since April 2008, having interviewed some of the most recognized IT pros in U.S. colleges and universities. He is always updating eCampus News with the latest in pressing ed-tech issues, such as the growing i


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