After a 15-minute private demo of Cisco’s Umi, the company’s latest video calling system, I was fairly impressed with the unit’s sharp 1080p HD resolution and the natural feel of the audio (which is apparently designed to elevate human voices and suppress background noise). Then again, that level of quality is no real surprise given Cisco’s history in telepresence technology and their popularity on the enterprise side.
However, the main problem with Cisco is not innovation, it’s getting outside of the boardroom and finding a real place in the consumer’s living room— and no where is that gap more apparent than in Umi’s sticker price. As CrunchGear reporter Devin Coldewey lamented, it’s a consumer-facing device priced for the office at $599 for the system and $24.99 a month.
After the presentation, TC TV got a chance to catch up with Marthin De Beer, Cisco’s SVP of the Emerging Technologies Group, and asked him to justify Umi’s price. See parts of our demo and the interview with De Beer ahead.