It's no secret that our friends at Cisco are making a big play into what they call the "telepresence" realm. Whether it's their videoconferencing offerings, their purchase of WebEx Communications to beef up their application sharing bits, and there's the whole providing the network-in-general stuff they do, too, they are really beating the telepresence drum.
But I can't help but wonder, as I read the descriptions of their life-altering multipoint dreams, if it's really that different from what the folks at Polycom are doing already. Like this announcement from February, or maybe even just their basic set of offerings. I use Polycom almost every day and value the low price entry point (for the PVX desktop edition of their videoconferencing software), relative ease of use (if opening ports on your local firewall is easy, which, honestly, is not that bad), and high video/call quality over normal consumer bandwidth.
Now if I could just get my institutional and department firewalls to be more accommodating and less prone to random changes in what ports are opened and closed, I'd really be cooking with gas.
Look, there's probably some deep difference between what Cisco is hyping and the offerings that existing market players like Polycom, Lifesize, Raindance, and other nice companies bring to bear. But I'm not sure I'm seeing it in the PR bonanza that accompanies their WebEx acquisition.
Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.