Deals

HP unveils its own brand of video conferencing software and hardware

First it was Microsoft and Google. Now it’s Hewlett-Packard. It seems the cool thing to do now is trying to take on Cisco’s video conferencing market while the company is down.

HP announced today that it is launching a suite of video conferencing tools geared toward businesses that have tons of employees strewn across the country and are in dire need of collaboration tools.

HP is offering a number of options that are similar to what Cisco’s telepresence video conferencing options give to businesses looking for a solution to their collaboration woes. And since Cisco has been such a dominant force in the enterprise video conferencing space, it’s pretty obvious why this is such a juicy target for HP while Cisco is retreating after lowering its outlook for the fourth quarter this year.

The suite includes software that facilitates video conferencing over an Internet connection. Businesses can also pick up a version of HP’s touchscreen computer, the TouchSmart 600 Quad, that is specifically tooled as a videoconferencing and collaboration device. HP is also offering video conferencing tools to help set up a complete conference room that can connect to other web-enabled cameras, much like Cisco’s enterprise telepresence conference products.

And HP is taking a particularly green approach to marketing the device. HP’s video conferencing products will remove 33,453 vehicles from the road for an entire year or eliminate more than 143,000 round-trip flights from New York to London, the company stated. All the video compression crunching can either happen on on-site servers or be shipped off to cloud servers for greater energy efficiency, as well.

While HP is hitting Cisco on the enterprise sales front, Microsoft and Google are also taking on the video conferencing giant on the consumer front. Cisco recently launched the Umi Home TelePresence, a webcam that sits on top of a television and is designed for video conferencing from home living rooms.

But the device is priced at a baffling $600 — plus an additional $25 each month — and faces some stiff competition. Logitech is selling a Google TV enabled set-top box with an HD camera for about $450. XBox 360 owners can go pick up Microsoft’s Kinect camera for $150 and use it for home teleconferencing, or pay $300 for both the camera and the XBox 360. Cisco’s Umi Telepresence is a more powerful piece of hardware, but is likely priced too high for consumers.

Now that we’ve established this as a fad, what will be the next company to try to sneak into Cisco’s market?