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Cisco offers video system for internet phones

Cisco Systems has unveiled a system which allows real-time videoconferencing on internet phones for less than $200 (£106) per user.

Version 4.0 of its CallManager software, designed for IP voice server systems, and Version 1.0 of its Video Telephony (VT) Advantage client software allows real-time, person-to-person video sessions to be added to telephone calls.

"When you place a call to someone else within your company, not only can you connect with voice, but the Cisco CallManager will set up the video connection between your PC and the other person's PC, assuming that you both have a [web] camera attached to your PCs," said Marthin De Beer, vice-president and general manager of Cisco's IP communications group.

Once a video call is under way, a user has access to the same kinds of features as are available with a regular telephone call.

Customers who already own CallManager voice software with a service agreement and internet phones from Cisco can upgrade to the latest version for free and purchase a PC package consisting of Cisco VT Advantage video software and web camera for about $190 per user, said Darren Pryke, product manager of IP communication systems at Cisco.

The latest release of CallManager, which is sold separately from Cisco servers, is already available, while the new Cisco VT Advantage software and camera package will begin shipping in late March or early April.

The CallManager software is also designed to work with traditional videoconference systems from several manufacturers, including Tandberg and Polycom.

Linda Rosencrance writes for Computerworld.

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