Who Will Buy Cisco's Umi?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cisco is marketing their Umi (telepresence) service to consumers, but they've set the price at $600 + $25/month. They’ve signed Ellen Paige and a series of extras who look like maybe they had the idea for Windows 7 to help promote it.

I can't imagine who their intended customer is. Certainly not the tech-savvy-looking people in their ads; they've already got Skype for a $50 webcam + $0/month.

The only people I can imagine doing this are the very rich who have a tech person who maintains their portfolio of technical devices. A video conferencing system could be the latest “must-have” feature for luxury renovations. Even then, it’s a challenge since it requires the other end to have the system as well.

I could imagine a use-case for parents / grandparents to use this on one end with children / grandchildren using it on the other. But, if the grandkid is competent enough to set up Umi, she’s probably competent enough to show grandpa how to turn on the computer, with Skype auto-starting and auto-logging in. Maybe that’s a lot of work, but then again, maybe we want video chatting to be harder than phone calls.

I’m sure Cisco will sell some of these systems. I just don’t understand who will buy them.


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