As a breakthrough technology for remote meetings, the Cisco TelePresence™ solution integrates rich audio, high-definition video, and interactive elements to deliver an immersive in-person meeting experience over an IP network. The solution creates the impression that local and remote participants are in the same room. The use of innovative audio and video technology makes it possible for Cisco TelePresence users to communicate as naturally as they would in person. Every expression, gesture, and nuance is clearly visible - across town or across time zones.
As Cisco TelePresence provides tremendous value by both speeding the pace of business and bolstering productivity, customers are already discovering new applications to further enhance the value of their Cisco TelePresence deployment.
One of these new applications is using Cisco TelePresence for event management. This application allows your organization to use Cisco TelePresence for a variety of events such as large all-hands meetings, seminars, roundtables, conferences, or even keynote presentations.
Unlike video conferencing, which refers to any multipoint call as a "conference", Cisco TelePresence offers you "meetings" (point-to-point or multipoint) and "events" (usually multipoint). Cisco TelePresence Event Management takes simple mutipoint meetings to a new level, creating a special experience for participants.
A new application called Cisco TelePresence Event Controls is what makes this experience possible. It gives event managers enhanced powers to control the flow of an event produced over a Cisco TelePresence system, providing a cost-effective way to reach wide audiences with spectacular and compelling results. Cisco TelePresence Event Controls enables event managers to produce powerful experiences and conduct events across multiple Cisco TelePresence endpoints just as they would for a live event.
These additional capabilities enhance the value of Cisco TelePresence, and they are unique to the Cisco award-winning solution for live, in-person experiences. Cisco TelePresence Event Controls provides:
• Advanced multipoint controls for event and meeting customization
• Flexibility: Several different modes (for example, VIP, broadcast, and training) for different types of events (for example, meetings, presentations, and virtual roundtables), and sophisticated enhanced features such as audience polling
• Cost-effective delivery of live in-person events that can scale worldwide, giving audiences an exceptional opportunity to interact and experience events and personalities impossible before
Q. What are Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. Most multipoint meetings use standard Cisco TelePresence capabilities to simply and automatically have immersive meetings. However, customers are finding new applications that are now realizable with TelePresence technology. For a managed meeting or produced event, Cisco TelePresence Event Controls gives you the controls you need to run a Cisco TelePresence meeting as you do a live event.
Q. Why should I use Cisco TelePresence for my events?
A. Cisco TelePresence events are fully interactive, and eveyone can get a front-row seat to the event. The application provides 1080p quality, spatial multichannel audio, full encryption, integrated collaboration, affordable bandwidth, and incredibly low latency, providing additional value to your Cisco TelePresence deployment at no additional cost.
Q. How do Cisco TelePresence Event Controls work?
A. Cisco TelePresence Event Controls is a feature set unique to the award-winning Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch.
The feature set is specifically designed to enable event managers to produce events and managed meetings. Event managers with Cisco TelePresence Event Controls can control a multisite experience. The feature set provides a range of tools that assist the casual manager in addition to the professional events management team.
Q. What is Cisco delivering with Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. Cisco is delivering enhancements to the existing Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch product for event management with the following modes:
• Standard: VIP mode, presenter, or lecture controls with an HTTP interface
• Professional: Director controls with the command-line interface (CLI)
• Application programming interface (API): Controls that allow expert event managers or developers to create a unique front-end application for custom events
Q. How is Cisco TelePresence Event Controls managed?
A. You control Cisco TelePresence Event Controls through your laptop. For simple events and managed meetings, the interface is an HTTP web interface to the Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch. For high-performance events using the professional control, you use the CLI. For event managers or developers with long-term requirements, the Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch also provides an API that lets you create your own controls that are specific to your events.
Q. Why is Cisco TelePresence Event Controls important to Cisco TelePresence customers?
Cisco TelePresence Event Controls is a powerful cost-saving tool for Cisco TelePresence customers. With the Cisco TelePresence Event Controls, one person can manage and produce a spectacular event - as good as any professionally managed event. There is no need for days of setup, teams of engineers, and lots of expensive equipment .
Unlike traditional TV broadcast or low-resolution streaming or other passive one-way broadcast, Cisco TelePresence Event Controls provides high-resolution, low-latency, secure interactive events that can span your corporation or span the globe. And everyone gets a front-row seat. Although Cisco TelePresence customers are already realizing proven savings on travel and increased productivity by meeting or recording with Cisco TelePresence, Cisco TelePresence Event Controls now allows you to product professional events - saving on production costs and increasing productivity.
Q. How is Cisco TelePresence Event Controls different from Cisco TelePresence meeting management or Cisco TelePresence Recording Studio?
Cisco TelePresence meetings generally follow a common scenario - schedule a meeting, walk in the room, sit down, and have the meeting. No time is wasted on technology, setup, testing, remote controls, control panels, operations people, or laptop applications. Everything is designed to be simple, intuitive, consistant, and immersive. The in-room interface is simply a phone that anyone in the meeting can use as needed, with no training. Cisco TelePresence Recording Studio uses the same interface to allow users to simply and easily create high-definition videos and distribute them instantly.
Separately, events have a critical defining characteristic - an event manager. The event manager is a person who has some expertise on customizing and managing meetings, and has tools - typically a laptop - to monitor and control event flow. With Cisco TelePresence Event Controls, the professional-level features apply primarily to produced events, whereas the standard-level features are simple and powerful - and they work for managed meetings or events.
Q. Is Cisco TelePresence Event Controls the same as "concierge" options?
A. No. A concierge - or operator or white glove-type service - is similar but different. A concierge is typically a full-time person responsible for successful meeting launch, assisting with related concerns such as scheduling, problem resolution, or on-demand services.
Events are typically one-of-a-kind or special formats, where someone familiar with the event actually provides significant or complete control of the meeting. A concierge could provide event management, or an event may need some conciege service, but functionally these roles are typically different roles.
Q. How are events typically accomplished today? What is different about Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. Today, events are expensive. They typically require an event manager and engineers, training and rehersal of changing cables, lots of planning on how to prevent failures, expensive matrix switching and converters, room setup for the event, TV cameras, network provisioning, rental equipment, audio mixers, and security solutions because everything is unencrypted and monitored by many people. All of this is required just for an old-fashioned one-way broadcast.
With Cisco TelePresence Event Management, there are no additional costs, no new networks, no rooms to set up - and one person can manage the event. But the biggest difference is that the meeting is completely interactive with all sites - and in low latency and high resolution.
Q. Is this capability available with other Telepresence solutions? What about with video conferencing?
A. No. Many Telepresence solutions support only four studios, and each sudio allows only four people. So-called "Telepresence" offerings from video conferencing manufacturers are really just high-definition (HD) video conferencing solutions, with some rooms containing three separate systems. In general, the rooms do not provide lighting or the audio and video quality for a produced event. But the biggest concern is the infrastructure used in video conferencing - it requires a multipoint control unit (MCU). MCUs are expensive electronics that add latency, reduce quality, and limit event size. In addition, older video conferecing MCUs provide options only for meetings, not events. Voice (audio) in video conferencing is a changing, single-channel mix of the three loudest microphones - every user essentially hears the same thing. With video conferencing, a few options for video management typically exist, but they are slow, clumsy, and highly manual. There is no easy way to map any camera to any display - and change it dynamically.
Standard-definition (SD) audio and video (CIF or 4CIF) cannot deliver a high-quality, high-profile event. The video must be at least 720p (HD). It also needs to be reliable, consistant, and dependable - not what you get in H.323 video conferencing.
In addition, for 720p-quality events, MCUs typically cost more than $6000 per video stream. No video conferencing provider can deliver broadcast-quality 1080p video end to end or deliver low-latency or a secure (encrypted) global event. No other vendor can deliver events easily or compellingly with existing HD video conferencing systems - let alone in an immersive, life-like TelePresence room.
Q. When and how can I bring my customers to see Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. We can provide full demonstration of Cisco TelePresence Event Controls from any Cisco TelePresence location - and we have more than 380 production rooms on our internal network. With an intercompany Cisco TelePresence application, this capability can be extended to include partners. If you have a Cisco TelePresence system installed today, all it takes is the latest relase of software.
Q. When will Cisco TelePresence Event Controls be available?
A. The feature set is expected to ship in mid-CY09.
Q. What do I need to use Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. Cisco TelePresence Event Controls uses existing Cisco TelePresence products and requires only Cisco TelePresence endpoints and a Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch. You also need a PC or laptop to access the event management controls.
Q. What is the roadmap for Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. We are focused on the initial release of Cisco TelePresence Event Controls, because this area is new and will require selling to a new audience, namely event managers. However, the initial release is just the start of many more features and capabilites designed to make event management easy, and every event a spectacular success.
Q. What is the scalibility of Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. Cisco TelePresence is a highly scalable and immersive solution available today for remote meetings. With the Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch, you can have up to 48 1080p cameras and 48 1080p displays - with end-to-end 1080p quality and incredably low latency. Future versions of the switch will allow events with hundreds of cameras, microphones, and displays. Whether your event spans the campus, the corporation, the continent, or the globe, Cisco TelePresence Event Management delivers the same spectacular event.
Q. Can I get Cisco TelePresence Event Controls as a service for special events?
A. Cisco Advanced Services are available for special event management, as well as special event configurations that require nonstandard equipment deployments or custom integration of other equipment.
Q. What if I need special endpoint configurations for an event?
A. Many high-profile events may require custom configurations. Whether it is the corporate meeting with a dozen locations displayed in each room, or multiple auditoriums, or even holograms on stage, Cisco TelePresence Event Controls for event management will provide the control you need to deliver your planned event.
Q. My events are very high-profile - can I depend on Cisco TelePresence Event Controls?
A. Yes. Cisco TelePresence offers an exceptionally high-quality and reliable interactive video solution. Cisco has conducted more than 250,000 meetings internally. And for all customers, more than 500,000 meetings have taken place in the past 2 years - all with broadcast-quality 1080p video - and all of them connecting instantly every time. Cisco itself and important Cisco TelePresence customers have already been using event management to deliver state-of-the-art extremely high-profile events.
Q. Can I link Cisco TelePresence Event Controls to my existing televison broadcast capabilities?
A. Yes. Whether you want to bring Cisco Telepresence locations into your studio or send your studio feeds out to Cisco TelePresence rooms, Cisco TelePresence Event Controls let you completely control the Cisco TelePresence experience with all of the features expected in a high-production control room. Whether it is corporate TV, campus TV, or network TV - Cisco TelePresence Event Controls provides a new level of experience.
Q. What if some locations are remote or temporary?
A. Cisco TelePresence fully supports satellite connections at 720p. We already support emergency response vehicles, tents in the desert, and oil rig platforms. With the new extended reach capabilities for lower bandwidth, you can bring in locations from anywhere - including the home office. You can make your event a trully global, all-inclusive event.
Q. Can we make presentations from a laptop?
A. Yes. You can switch to any laptop in any room and display that in parallel with the video. In addition, the presentation does not affect the quality of the audio or video. If you want full-motion video from a DVD, Blueray, or MPEG file, you can display that too - in whatever locations you want .
Q. What about recording?
A. Cisco provides recording studio capabilities - through the Cisco TelePresence Recording Studio application, which further enhances the value of Cisco TelePresence rooms. The Cisco TelePresence Recording Studio application also allows for transparent insertion or playback of Cisco TelePresence recordings.
Q. What about streaming?
A. Cisco TelePresence integrates with other Cisco Emerging Technologies, specifically the Cisco® MXE 3000 Series Media Experience Engine, to deliver streaming of Cisco TelePresence recordings to any endpoint device . Streaming of live meetings and events is a roadmap item.
Q. What about digital signage?
A. Cisco TelePresence, together with the Cisco Digital Media System solution, allows you to deliver Cisco TelePresence sessions to the Cisco TelePresence System 500, operating as digital signs for both events and digital signage.
Q. What about my older video conferencing rooms? Will Cisco TelePresence Event Management deliver Cisco TelePresence content to video conferencing rooms?
A. Yes. Cisco TelePresence any-to-any interoperability allows you to add any standards-based SD or HD video conferencing rooms or devices to the meeting. Although Cisco TelePresence Event Controls does not extend to the control level available in Cisco TelePresence to those video conferencing endpoints, you can still add these devices and provide full interactivity.
Q. What if I have just a cell phone? Can I access a Cisco TelePresence event?
A. Yes. You can link to a Cisco WebEx™ meeting application to allow any cell phone or laptop to join in a Cisco TelePresence meeting or event. If you have an Apple iPhone, you can also watch the live video presentation.
Q. How much does Cisco TelePresence Event Controls cost?
A. There is no charge for event management; it is a standard feature of the Cisco TelePresence offer.