Initial Thoughts On the New Cisco Telepresence IX5000


Since I discussed Polycom’s Immersive Studio when it came out, I felt it necessary to dissect Cisco’s new IX5000 which was announced on November 17th.

Cisco made them small which is great, but they put them on top of the middle screen. Combine that with an even larger screen size (70” vs their previous 65”), vertical eye contact became worse. Still, the small camera is a radical departure from previous (and current) Cisco products and for that I applaud them. It’s my wish that they would change the Speaker Track to this type of camera system as well.

Three Screens
I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the three screen concept. The main issue is where to put the camera and the secondary issue is eye contact/gaze angle. Polycom put their camera right in the chest of the middle person as they display three people per screen. Cisco kept it up top as I described above. In a wide room format (which both Polycom and Cisco employ with their Telepresence products) eye contact becomes a problem horizontally as well as vertically.

Lack of Capture
By using three camera heads where they are located, there will always be a pie shaped area of no capture between persons 2 and 3 and also between 4 and 5. Of course table legs are placed where they are so no one sits in that pie but it still exists. It’s only really a problem if you’re walking around the room.

Push Button Stand Up
It’s great that Cisco addressed this. However, the push button stand up works if someone is there to push a button. You’re still going to have the ‘floating torso’ effect walking into the room. Cisco’s use of 4k imaging sensors while displaying in HD resolution allow for over capture to be able to digitally pan to get the standup, is a great idea. The bigger subject will be if this impedes workflow like old school PTZ cameras do. Time will tell if it just gets left in ‘stand up mode’.

Single Purpose
A HUGE selling point was “no room remediation”. If memory serves that what Polycom was trying to lead us to believe as well. While the minimum room dimensions for the IX5000 are small in comparison to the Immersive Studio, it is still listed at 8’H x 19’W x 13’8”D (with recommended being 15’ deep). It’s still going to be a difficult sell in places where square footage is at a premium knowing that this cannot be used for local meetings, rendering it only useful for video conferencing.

According to ZDNet, the IX5000 “…will start at less than $9,000 a month for 36 months.” Putting it well north of $300,000 and that price most likely does not include installation and the maintenance agreement.

What do I like? It’s hardware and it’s not dead. I truly appreciate Cisco’s continued push of hardware products and if the IX5000 had a few tweaks it would certainly be a winner, but it’s also light years ahead of their previous three screen offering.


About Author

Bryan Hellard, President of True View Video LLC is an industry expert in video conferencing product development. With over 14 years’ experience in video conferencing and telepresence, his duties have included product management, product design, testing and prototyping. Bryan is also a consultant for end users and video conferencing product vendors. In addition, he operates an R&D testing lab for video related products. Bryan currently serves as Director of Product Engineering and is a member of the Advisory Board for Array Telepresence. The opinions expressed in Bryan's commentary are his own, and are not representative of Let's Do Video or Array Telepresence.

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