US networking giant Cisco today announced it is launching two new Android-based desktop communication devices in a bid to declutter employee desks.
The 23-inch DX80 and 14-inch DX70 touchscreen devices are designed to free up space on a worker’s desk by removing the need for employees to have telephones, webcams and other communications technology in front of them.
Speaking at Cisco Live in San Francisco today, Rowan Trollope, VP of Cisco’s collaboration technology group, said: “We took the Cisco phone that sits on your desk...and built it right in here so you can make voice calls just like you’ve always made. We also took the video and the mics and all this other stuff and built that in too. We essentially took everything on that sits on the desk and put it in there.”
Cisco was keen to point out that it does not envisage the devices being a direct replacement for a user’s PC. This means it expects users to set up the sizeable DX80 next to their existing monitors.
The smaller DX70 is said to offer roughly the same functionality as its big brother, boasting the same processor and webcam. However, it will be considerably cheaper.
When released, Cisco said the DX80 will be less than $2,000 (£1,188), while the DX70 will be less than $1,000.
Trollope pointed out that collaboration apps like Evernote can be installed on the reclining devices, allowing employees to do things like draw diagrams and pictures as they talk to one another.
Each device features four wideband microphones (one in each leg) and the DX80 comes with technology that allows people to “see what they hear”, eliminating potentially frustrating background noise.
Cisco also launched a cloud-based video collaboration platform called Collaboration Meeting Room (CMR).
The software is built on open standards so that it can support multiple devices, allowing “everything to talk to everything”.
Trollope said: “Our customers have multiple different products and the single biggest thing that has prevented these products from scaling is interconnectivity. I think now is the time.”
David Day, director of global information systems at chemicals manufacturer Dow Chemical, said: “People join Dow just out of college. Video is an expectation. We're not growing in major metropolitan areas anymore. We're growing in Africa and the Middle East. Places we need to take the Dow culture. Frankly you need strong video collaboration products that can work across a range of devices. It’s these type of products that we hope will help lead us there."
Pointing at a table holding a phone, a webcam, a microphone, and a PC, Day added: “When you look at that table, and I look at the support structure, I see cost.”