SAN JOSE, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Cisco ( CSCO) unveiled its home videoconferencing technology Wednesday, taking the wraps off its new 'umi' system. Umi, which includes an HD camera, a console and a remote, connects to an HD TV and a broadband Internet connection. Effectively a scaled-down, home-based version of Cisco's telepresence technology for enterprises, the networking giant is touting umi as the first step in a broader push into consumer video.
"We envision a future where technologies like this will play a role in connecting consumers with businesses to enable the delivery of new services, ranging from education to health care to financial services," said Cisco CEO John Chambers in a statement. Umi will be available on Nov. 14 via Cisco and Best Buy's ( BBY) Magnolia Home Theater stores. The system will be priced at $599 with a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited umi calls, video messaging and video storage. In its statement, Cisco confirmed that it is working with Verizon ( VZ) and will extend umi to the telco's FiOS customers early next year. Cisco, however, faces stiff competition in the home video market from Skype and Logitech ( LOGI), which just announced the Revue, a set-top box to be used with Google's new Google TV platform. Skype, which has 560 million registered users, poses a big challenge for umi. The software specialist offers free voice and video services over the Internet, and has already taken a swipe at Cisco's telepresence efforts. "These dedicated devices have been around for years and they are sitting in the corner of offices gathering dust," said Jonathan Christensen, a general manager at Skype. "My view is that consumers are used to paying very little." Cisco shares closed up 31 cents, or 1.43%, to $22.30 on Wednesday. --Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.