EXCLUSIVE: Cisco is set to expand their consumer offering in Australia with the launch of new wireless routers, a third generation Flip Cameras, and a HD video conferencing system for the home.
Called Umi, the home conferencing system has a 1080p camera module, remote, and a separate set-top box that will be sold by both retailers and communication carriers in Australia.
According to Todd Lynton the Managing Director of Cisco Australia’s Consumer Products Group the new video conferencing system will be launched prior to Xmas and the company is confident that they can grow market share despite a recent expansion of Skype services in Australia by the likes of Panasonic, LG and Samsung, who are now building Skype video conferencing capability into selected large screen TVs.
Cisco Australia who appointed Lynton 12 months ago is chasing further growth in the camcorder market with the launch of new Flip cameras including an 8GB third generation model that swaps the existing 2x AA battery for three AAA batteries for longer battery life.
All three will come with image stabilisation and updated FlipShare editing software. During the past 12 months Cisco Australia has lifted their share of the handheld Full HD camcorder market to 45% via aggressive point of sale marketing in stores like Dick Smith and specialist camera stores.
In New Zealand Cisco has 70% of the handheld camcorder market with Lynton looking to achieve the same sort of penetration in Australia.
During an interview with ChannelNews Lynton said: “We believe that there is a market for our new Umi video conference system across both the consumer and small medium business markets. At this stage we are planning to launch Umi in Australia before Xmas”.
According to Lynton the new Umi device delivers full 1080p video calls with 720p/30 recording, with a fall back to 720p / 480p if bandwidth is constrained.
“At this stage there are potential issues with bandwidth however consumers who are already paying for fast bandwidth should not have any problems” he said.
The camera has a glass lens with an optical zoom, autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance, as well as motorized pan, tilt, and zoom. In the USA the device has gone on sale for US $599 on top of that consumers are being asked to pay $24.99 monthly or $275 annually to a carrier for the service.
When asked about his Flip camera marketing, he said: “GFK is now tracking this market and according to the latest data we have 45% of this market. This exceeds our targets for the year and I am confident that we can grow our share even further with our new third generation models”.
Accused of neglecting their traditional networking market, Lynton said: “We are currently launching new network products including new E series routers which we believe will grow our share in the consumer home market.
Cisco claims its new routers are extremely easy to set up due to the introduction of a new “simplified” set up system.
Among the new models that will be launched are three routers and a USB wireless adapter. The entry level Linksys E1000 Wireless-N Router has four Ethernet 10/100Mbps ports, the Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router has 2.4GHz or 5GHz dual-band radio channels and four Gigabit ports.
The top end Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router has a simultaneous dual-band channels and comes bundled with a built-in media server.
Linksys E1000 Wireless-N Router: $89.95
Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router: $169.95
Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router (Dual-Band): $249.95