Cisco, the enterprise Network Company and Logitech who like to play in any market where they can make money selling cheap made in China hardware, are both set to have a crack at trying to take on Skype in the home with a new form of video conferencing.
They believe, that they can convince families to invest in a video conferencing system for the home, despite the fact that most notebooks, all in one PC’s and a lot of the new Android based tablets that are set to hit the market soon come with a built in camera which is ideal for video conferencing via Skype.
In addition Companies like Panasonic, LG and Samsung are already building Skype video conferencing capabilities into their TV’s which allow families to sit around a TV and talk to friends and family.
Both Logitech and Cisco are set to launch telepresence systems similar to what is used by large corporates for video conferencing. Logitech has been developing its system for nearly two years and it will be integrated into the Logitech Revue which is the Companies Google TV offering.
Logitech who sell the Harmony universal remote is already under pressure from a new generation of free tablet and Smartphone applications that replace the need for a universal remote control in the home. Also set to come under pressure is Logitech’s external video camera offering as vendors improve the quality of video cameras that are built into PC’s Notebooks and netbooks and a new generation of tablets.
The Cisco offering which I saw earlier this year is also built into a box and has been designed by a network Company as opposed to an accessories Company.
The image on the screen was excellent and the clarity of the audio signal was as good as any home phone or mobile. The only problem is that neither the Cisco, or Logitech offering will talk to a Skype enabled device.
In November, users of the Xbox 360 games console will be able to do home video conferencing using Microsoft’s new Kinect motion controller which comes with a camera and an array of microphones that can be set up for a home conference.
A similar capability is already available on Sony’s PlayStation 3.
According to research Company iSuppli 28 million TV’s with an Internet and Skype capability will be sold this year.
“I think we’re at the front end of a videoconferencing wave and the only thing holding it back is interoperability standards at the moment,” says Rob Enderle, analyst at the Enderle Group told the Financial Times.
With such standards lacking, users can only call other users who have the same software – Skype users cannot video call users of Logitech’s Vid system or Kinect users, for example.
An industry body was set up this year to help standardise video-calling protocols, but little progress is expected before 2011.
Rob Enderle says video conferencing has been around for decades in the business world, but has never taken off for behavioural reasons – people didn’t like to see themselves on camera.
“We now have a new generation of young adults who are comfortable on camera and if people use it at home, it’s much more likely they’ll want to use it at work, so it’s a way to open up the market for Cisco and Logitech.”
The Cisco offering which I saw earlier this year is also built into a box. Designed by a network Company as opposed to an accesories