Video chatting is being touted as the next big thing in the tech bubble and while there has been some long term players in the game, like Skype and even Microsoft Messenger, both start-ups and established companies think there is still room for them on the playing field.
Cisco was one of those companies and with a lot of fanfare announced last year that they were entering the video chat fray with their Umi Personal Telepresence video chat system.
In someways this seemed like a natural progression for the company since it’s telepresence system is used by some of the largest companies in the world the only problem it that Cisco made some pretty big blunders.
First and foremost – the name.
Umi? Really? You mean your corporate marketing department couldn’t come up with something better than Umi?
Next big problem and maybe the real killer was the price, keeping in mind that already existing services in the space, like Skype, were free. However, Cisco believed for whatever reason that their Umi offering was worth $600 for a seperate console and remote and then a $10 monthly charge on top of that.
Well as anyone in the tech world could have told you – this was doomed from the start and Cisco apparently has finally agreed that the service is a failure and is in the process of putting the kibosh on both the 1080p and 720p versions of the product. There is no word yet of how the existing customers who fell for Cisco’s pitch; and are paying the $10 per month fee, are going to be dealt with.
Personally I never expected Umi to succeed and was surprised to hear that it was still around.