I don’t always agree with TMC’s Rich Tehrani, but with respect to Cisco’s UMI I do believe that he has the situation nailed when he posted, “10 Reasons Why Cisco Umi Telepresence Will Fail.” In fact, I think that stopping at ten was a kindness in Cisco’s direction.
There are so many players in this space that simply do consumer electronics better than Cisco that I simply can’t see UMI getting much traction in it’s current form. Starting with Logitech other companies will soon be in the space with better devices…better user experience…better support…better prices…just plain better.
Cisco today introduced umi, it’s effort to bring telepresence from the board room into the living rooms of the world. Umi (pronounced like “you me”) attaches to an existing HDTV via an HDMI connection and is said to support HD video calling.
Depending upon your available bandwidth umi can provide 720p or 1080i video streams. They quote 720p as requiring 1.5 mbps in each direction, while 1080 requires 3.5 mbps. Those numbers suggest the umi is not supporting the H.264 High Profile compression profile that Polycom has used on their systems. H.264 High Profile makes more efficient use of bandwidth, according to Polycom it’s bandwidth requirements are as little as half that of competitive systems.
My wife tells me I’m obsessed. In the course of going about our daily lives I notice things that most other people don’t. Given my proclivities, I usually notice interesting telecom equipment in action. Sometimes it’s simply product placement on television and in movies, other times it’s telecom tools in action at real-world installations.
Last week’s VUC call with FWDs Dan Behringer brings to mind a common complaint about SIP desk phones, namely the lack of an alphanumeric keyboard. Lacking a proper keyboard it’s difficult to really push the idea of SIP URIs as a primary means of making calls.
There are a variety of approaches to overcoming this, including the use of ISNs as prescribed by the Freenum project. That project proposes a means of dialing SIP URIs indirectly, assigning them ISN numbers. Since ISNs use only numbers and the * key they can be dialed on a traditional phone keypad. It’s essentially a way of avoiding SIP URIs through indirection.
When last we left this story our protagonist had returned the Cisco AP to BUY.COM leaving le maison du Graves without functional wifi for about two weeks. Fortunately I was out of town a lot during that period so it wasn’t much of an inconvenience. If anything it gave me some time to evaluate my options regarding replacement gear.
I’ve noted that whereas I had a lot of problems with 802.11n type wifi APs I’d previously had far fewer issues with 802.11g type hardware. Very recently I was reminded by someone who should know that 802.11a/b/g is more mature hardware than 802.11n. This certainly rings true as my very old Linksys WAP-54G ran for literally years with no problems at all.
There are myriad inexpensive consumer routers available that include wifi functionality, but far fewer freestanding wifi access points (AP.) I surmise that this is because every broadband connected home needs a router and wants a wifi AP, so a converged device is the most affordable approach to this marketplace. Yet in many ways it’s less than ideal.
The fact that your router and wifi access point are in one device makes that device a major possible single point of failure. It dies and your entire network goes down. While merely inconvenient for the kids coming home after school to play World Of Warcraft, it’s a whole different kind of failure if you’re a full-time home office worker who relies on internet access to be effective in your job.