Telepresence in the living room

Cisco’s new product  ūmi (pronounced you-me) brings telepresence to your living room. Cisco ūmi, which includes an HD camera, a console and a remote, connects to an existing HD television and a broadband internet connection to create an immersive video experience in the home. (You’ll need a minimum upload speed of 1.5Mbps to use ūmi.)

A remote control provides access to an on-screen user interface, through which users can make ūmi calls, access video messages, manage contacts, and customise their profile and settings. Users can also record their own ūmi videos, which they can share on Facebook, on YouTube, or via email. Users can even keep in touch with people who don’t have ūmi by placing and receiving video calls from any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.

At the time of writing ūmi is only available in the USA.

Below is a short video from Cisco. Click here to see and read more about Cisco ūmi

New look – new attitude!

It was time to have a new look for the blog. I’ve taken it back to 2 columns which I think is easier to read. I’ll tweak it over the next few days – adding & deleting various widgets in the sidebar.

I’ve been rather slack in updating this blog of late so I’m also applying a new attitude & plan to blog more often. Stay tuned…..

History of videoconferencing

It seems that we’ve wanted to represent the world in moving pictures and connect to each other via video for hundreds of years. Early attempts were:

The thaumatrope 1825: phenakistoscope 1832: & zoopraxiscope in 1879:

In 1879 Punch published a picture (below) of Edison’s Telephonoscope. The text read:

Every evening, before going to bed, Pater- and Materfamilias set up an electric camera-obscura over their bedroom mantel-piece, and gladden their eyes with the sight of their Children at the Antipodes, and converse gaily with them through the wire.

My personal favourite was ‘le tele’. This was the way in which in the 1800s they envisaged videoconferencing on the 20th century. I’ve put the two pictures into a Slideshare (below). I think the second slide is very apt!!!

Free desktop videoconferencing with Polycom PVX

I was searching for the Polycom PVX software download recently and it took me so long to rediscover it that I decided to blog it to save you time :-)

Polycom PVX software extends the Polycom video conferencing experience to your desktop. It works in conjunction with your PC (not Mac) and USB camera to provide business-class video, audio, and content-sharing.

You can download a free version of the software that will give you 5 minutes of videoconferencing at a time.

While you’re there you might like to check out their CMA Desktop – pictured left. This is a newer desktop application that integrates with videoconferencing and telepresence.

You can watch a video on CMA Desktop  here.