Cisco prepares for Home Telepresence

January, 2010


Cisco boss John Chambers reckons that your HD television is about to become a hub for everything from domestic video calls to remote consultations with your doctor.


Outlining Cisco's vision for "home telepresence" at a press conference in Las Vegas, Chambers said the video era was only just beginning. "Video isn't just a killer app. It brings healthcare, it brings entertainment in ways we're only just beginning to understand," he told a small audience of invited press. "Video is now the way I communicate with my family."


To underline his point, Chambers embarked on a demonstration HD video conference call with his wife. He used a simple TV interface to select his wife from a list of contacts, before embarking on an excruciatingly stilted conversation about their marriage.


It's not only marital relationships that Cisco predicts will be conducted via the television. He also demonstrated how HD videoconferencing could be used for remote consultations with doctors, using gadgets that measure factors such as blood-sugar levels to provide on-screen telemetry that the doctor can refer to during the session.


Chambers claimed that high-definition streams would allows physicians to gauge the patient's facial expressions and body language in a way that wouldn't be possible with the blurry webcam footage we're used to today.


Finally, he showed how the system could also be used for remote learning, with a teacher delivering a lesson with onscreen games and activities to help engage children.


Chambers said that the company would embark on field trials of the HD teleconferencing technology from the Spring, but admitted that only a third of US households have the bandwidth to cope with such high quality streams at present.


The Cisco CEO predicted that video would account for 90% of all internet traffic by 2013. "We just love anything that fills up networks," Chambers admitted.

Manchester to get 100Mbps fibre network

January, 2010

Residents of the Oxford Road area of Manchester will have access to super-fast 100Mbps broadband after Geo announced plans to install a next-generation fibre cable network in the city.


Geo said it had been appointed by Corridor Manchester, the body that encourages economic investment in the central Manchester area, and Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA).


When complete, service providers will be able to 'lease' the cables from Geo ensuring residents will be able to purchase internet, tv and telephone services from a number of different providers.


Jackie Potter, chief executive of Corridor Manchester, said: "The installation of the new fibre optic cables will create a new infrastructure that will not only deliver much faster broadband speeds but through the open access network allow organisations, businesses and even individuals develop and test their own ideas for uses of the new technology without being held back by current limitations."


Chris Smedley, chief executive, Geo, added: "Geo is delighted to be working with Corridor Manchester and the MDDA to deliver this important infrastructure".


Once the roll-out is complete is complete, it is expected the fibre next work will be extended to cover the East Manchester area as well.


Geo said the installation would begin this spring and would take around 12 months to complete.

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