Q. What is Cisco TelePresence
® VX Tactical, and how does it fit into the Cisco TelePresence portfolio?
A. The VX Tactical puts the power of telepresence into a compact, rugged, and mobile solution. Designed for portability and ease of use, the VX Tactical is a high-definition video collaboration system with functions that facilitate remote communication and collaboration in remote environments.
This portable endpoint is part of the Cisco TelePresence portfolio, which offers video recording, firewall traversal, and video management capabilities. The VX Tactical can help overcome the barrier of distance by enabling effective collaboration, especially in field environments.
The main features of VX Tactical follow:
• Water-, sand-, impact-, chemical-, and corrosion-resistant case providing portability, durability, and other functions
• Utilizes Cisco TelePresence SX20 codec for high-definition (HD) video and content sharing with full-duplex audio
• Embedded 1080p HD camera and integrated speakers and microphone
• Sunlight-readable, optically bonded, 17.5-inch 720p60 HD display that is 3x stronger than standard screens
• Tactile control panel offering simplified system control and a tethered infrared remote control for full system operation
• AC and DC power options for system operation
• Security hasps (2x) for securing the unit
Q. Is the VX Tactical just an update to the product formerly called Tandberg Tactical?
A. VX Tactical is a new product with several improved features and options. Table 1 summarizes some of the differences.
Table 1. Summary of VX Tactical Features
Cisco TelePresence VX Tactical
Tandberg Tactical MXP
Size (H x W x D)
19.2 x 7.3 x 15.2 in
21.2 x 8.3 x 16 in
HD 1080; 16 x 9 aspect ratio
Standard-definition (SD) NTSC 4 x 3 aspect ratio
3 + 1 (6 Mbps total)
3 + 1 (2 Mbps total)
Durability of the screen
LCD and glass sealed for strength (optically bonded)
3x stronger than the previous screen
Lexan over standard LCD
2 x 10W stereo output
15W mono output
Simplified user interface buttons and tethered remote control
Only remote control
SX20 Series codec
H.323 and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) dual stream
up to 6 Mbps (total multisite bandwidth)
Cisco TelePresence MX Series codec
H323 dual stream
Q. Is the VX Tactical capable of performing as a completely wireless unit in the field?
A. The VX Tactical requires a connection to either an AC or DC power source. VX Tactical comes with a standard Ethernet port that can be attached to a wireless network device. The system features storage space ample for this type of network equipment.
Q. Why do I need a VX Tactical for field communications? Is a ruggedized tablet with a soft video client not good enough?
A. VX Tactical provides several advantages over a tablet with a software video client, depending on the customer's business needs. We believe that both hard endpoints and software-based products have appropriate use cases. Following are some of the reasons why you would use the VX Tactical over a ruggedized tablet with a soft video client:
• Easy-to-deploy room system: The VX Tactical is not limited to use as a personal system. You can also set it up in a mobile telepresence conference room scenario with an external microphone, camera, and monitor.
• Screen size: Tablets have a screen size of approximately 10 1/2 inches diagonal, which is adequate for personal use but does not work well for two or more people. Many tablets have a video output so that you can view the video on a high-definition monitor; however, this solution presents challenges when using interactive videoconferencing or telepresence because the camera is located on the tablet, not the monitor. The Cisco TelePresence VX Tactical offers a screen size of 17.5 inches diagonal, and the system is optimized for a small group of people. You can also attach a secondary larger screen and a secondary camera to shift to a comfortable room-based deployment.
• Camera: VX Tactical employs an HD camera that is optimized for small groups of people, rather than an individual on a tablet. It provides a very-high-quality telepresence experience. Some of the features of the embedded camera follow:
– 1/3-inch CMOS sensor
– 1.2 aperture range
– 63.8° horizontal field of view
– 42° vertical field of view
– 4-mm focal length
– 1080 pixels progressive @ 30 frames per second (fps)
– Manual focus
– Automatic brightness and white balance
– Microphones: Tablets have one microphone that typically requires a speaker to be in close proximity to the tablet. VX Tactical has built-in microphones and the option of attaching a room-based microphone.
– Echo cancellation: This feature is very important because the echo cancellation in a tablet is software-based and not very robust. For example, the echo canceller on typical tablets is not designed for use with external speakers and often causes audio quality problems (echoes and audio artifacts) for the people on the remote end. In contrast, the echo canceller built into the VX Tactical is very robust and can work with an entire auditorium of people.
– Speakers: VX Tactical has high-quality speakers built specifically for a small group of people. It boasts two waterproof 10W stereo speakers. Tablets have very small transducers that do not work well with a group of people.
• Shared system: VX Tactical is a dedicated, shared group system. It is not a personal device, meaning that when VX Tactical is deployed, it is a known shared resource and does not depend on someone's personal device that may or may not be available. For instance, if someone is late or not able to attend, others can still connect to the call.