Cisco makes videoconference technology invisible

Last month Cisco announced two new room video systems called the Spark Room Kit and Spark Room Kit Plus. Behind these dull names are some impressive technologies never before seen in videoconferencing.

The room kits are nearly complete videoconferencing systems, but they don’t include the displays. Each system is a single all-in-one device with camera(s), microphones and speakers. The primary difference between the two models is that the Room Kit has a single fixed-camera and the Room Kit Plus has four fixed-cameras that can cover a larger room.

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These room kits follow Cisco’s Spark Board launched last January. There is some overlap in videoconferencing, but the products serve different markets. The Spark Board includes a touchscreen display for electronic whiteboarding and works only with Cisco Spark, a cloud-delivered collaboration service. The room kits are videoconferencing solutions that can be used with either premises-based infrastructure or cloud-delivered services such as WebEx and Spark.

Despite the advanced technologies, the room kits are positioned for small to mid-sized rooms. Videoconferencing is not particularly new, but according to Cisco, it has only penetrated some 5 percent of the total conference rooms (the high-end rooms). Cisco wants to see video expand into the larger market of general-purpose meeting rooms for up to 14 people.

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