Is Cisco Umi Worth Rescuing?

Last week, video conferencing startup Tely Labs announced its “Rescue Umi” program as Cisco prepares to permanently end Umi services January 31. It’s an opportunity for Umi users to snag a good deal switching to Tely Labs’ similar telyHD offering. The marketing point of Umi and now telyHD is video conferencing on your HDTV without a PC — that is, telepresence right out of a box.

What killed Umi was its brow-raising price tag ($600) and ongoing subscription costs ($24.99 per month). This didn’t go over well with consumers, especially with cheaper, good quality, software-based video conferencing services popping up left and right. (Here are our reviews for a bunch of popular and alternative video conferencing services.)

TelyHD is trying not to make the same pricing mistake as Umi, but can such hardware approach make it in the end? The core VSee hypothesis is that video is only half the story; the other half is rich screen share that allows sharing photos, documents, slides, forms, etc. After all, this is how we work in real life. So even though VSee has great video, the VSee team is constantly thinking beyond just video  🙂

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