Tandberg launches desktop HD videoconferencing for execs

Release is prior to close of Cisco's acquisition of high-definition systems

Tandberg, in the process of being acquired by Cisco Systems, today launched the EX90, a high-definition videoconferencing desktop system focused on executive users.

Providing full 1080p30 resolution on a 24-inch HD desktop screen will allow executives to interact with customers, employees and others "as if they were sitting across the desk," Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen said in a statement.

The EX90 monitor can double as a PC monitor or it can be coupled with a second monitor in a package where one shows all videoconference communications and the other provides for joint viewing of documents and other materials.

The EX90 system also comes with a camera that can tilt at a 90 degree angle to capture and transmit images of sketches, product samples and other documents.

It also includes a separate eight-inch touchscreen that can be used to set up video calls and share content. The touchscreen eliminates the need for the remote device commonly used in larger videoconferencing systems.

A videoconference session can be extended to three other users at once.

Tandberg said that Varian Medical Systems, a manufacturer of medical devices, uses the system.

In a statement, Steve Henderson, program manager at Varian, called the EX90 a "natural extension" of Tandberg's room-sized telepresence suites. He added that the touchscreen module makes video navigation "easy and intuitive."

Cisco and Tandberg, like some of their competitors, have mostly focused on high definition videoconferencing as a way to improve the video quality of live sessions, especially those viewed in large specially-equipped rooms, usually referred to as "telepresence."

In a joint statement on Feb. 9, both companies said they will remain competitors until the close of Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg. Regulatory approvals are expected before June. Cisco at the time also elaborated on plans to integrate the technologies of the two firms -- noting that it will continue to sell both Tandberg's personal videoconferencing systems and Cisco's smaller TelePresence Systems.

For the larger "immersive" room-based telepresence systems, Cisco's product line will remain while Tandberg's Total Telepresence Solution, including the T3 and T1 product lines, will be adapted custom deployments and a range of other systems, Cisco said.

Cisco agreed late last year to pay $3.4 billion to acquire Tandberg as part of its plan to become an uber video company. The final price was $400 million above Cisco's original offer.

Cisco also has acquired Pure Digital Technology, maker of the Flip video handheld device, and in October agreed to pay $2.9 billion to buy Starent Networks, a maker of products designed to help wireless carriers pump data to smartphones and other devices.

Tandberg expects to show off the EX90 at the VoiceCon conference next week in Orlando. Pricing for the system has not been announced.

Videoconferencing products are also offered by Hewlett-Packard, Polycom and Logitech, among others.

high-definition videoconferencing desktop system
Tandberg's high-definition videoconferencing desktop system will allow executives to interact with customers, employees and others "as if they were sitting across the desk," said Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen. (Photo courtesy of Tandberg)

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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