March 31, 2009, 8:19 PM — People like me who work at home love this sort of thing. Cisco Systems just announced an expansion of its Telepresence videoconferencing system with a lower-end model, and several enhancements to its unified communications platform.
Personally, I make it a policy to never work for any company that is closer than 500 miles to my home. Besides the fact that companies around here are just plain cheap, there's too much risk of a face-to-face meeting request, which I avoid at all costs. People I do work for don't know what I look like, don't know when I am sitting at my desk or puttering in the garden, and don't know if I'm working in my pajamas, and that's the way I like it. But I do make use of a variety of teleworking tools. I've never had the need for videoconferencing--and hope I don't, since it would require that I look presentable (at least from the neck up), but the possibility is out there. One day I will need it.
At VoiceCon this week, Cisco released its new system targeted at smaller companies that don't have the budget for a full-room system. The System 1300 Series, perfect for up to six people, comes with a 65-inch screen and three cameras. Still overkill for my one-person operation, but nice for small "virtual" companies. For those that have bandwidth limitations, TelePresence Extended Reach can run over a 1.5 Mbps connection.