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Cisco's Telepresence Technology Goes Open Source

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April 22, 2010

Cisco's Telepresence Technology Goes Open Source

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Cisco (News - Alert) is one of the more powerful players when it comes to telepresence and it is understandable the company would want to protect this technology and associated proprietary secrets.

 According to a ZDnet post, Cisco is now making its telepresence technology open source.

Apparently, divesting the ownership of the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol "TIP" was a condition of Cisco's $3.3 billion acquisition of Tandberg (News - Alert), the Norwegian videoconferencing company.

The Telepresence Interoperability Protocol is what links Cisco Telepresence to other companies' videoconferencing systems.

Now, the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (News - Alert) (IMTC) is set to make the technology available to Cisco competitors. The TIP code will go under the Apache license on July 1.

Whether it is required or not, making open source TIP is still a good idea for the global economy. Video conferencing continues to grow in popularity as more and more global companies are striving to cut back on travel expenses. The ability to interoperate Cisco technology with other offerings can streamline this process.

Dana Blankenhorn, ZDnet writer, believes the Cisco-Tandberg deal should be set alongside HP's acquisition of 3Com (News - Alert). This move helps to propel HP into the videoconferencing space. Neither 3Com or HP, however, is a member of IMTC.

This organization is launching an interoperability group, yet HP is not compatible with TIP, which could be a significant stumbling block for market growth. The move by Cisco makes good business sense and HP may want to take a few pointers.

Until recently, Cisco was targeting its telepresence solutions as technological miracles. This high end offering will now go down-market, following demand and opportunity. With this shift in the market, Cisco's move is only good for them and will help ensure success for the long haul.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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