If you’ve had it with social media on computers and you’ve had it with 140 characters worth of updates and photos sent from phones, as the saying goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” I am speaking of new living room toys recently introduced that even George Jetson didn’t have. [video]
This week saw Google and Cisco reinvent television in different ways. I suppose the good news: neither is 3D, but the two may just hurt 3D sales.
Cisco announced their Cisco ūmi™ telepresence, “the new way to be together with your friends and family,” even if they are across the country. ūmi consists of an HD camera that can pan and zoom, a console and a remote and needs a broadband connection and, of course, any HD television.
“Cisco ūmi will bring the unique telepresence experience into living rooms and change the way we are able to be together with family and friends,” according to Cisco CEO John Chambers. “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 — to the home.”
At one level I would love to see this replace the telephone. It would be amazing to share family moments across the miles with near life-sized people. On the other hand, replacing the phone with HD TV images scares me for three reasons: Political phone calls, sales calls, and collection calls. Need I really say more? Since ūmi also allows you to leave video messages, perhaps Congress can work quickly to approve a “Do Not Scare List” before this gets popular.
Or worse (and it can get worse), remember how some [teen age] people could tie up the phone for hours? Can you hear it? “Bobbie’s on the TV and I want to watch my show!”
It’s a good thing this dovetails with their “mobile collaboration tablet” the CIUS. This Android operating system-based device handles video conferencing, heavy duty software and will be made for business and education customers, among others. All the books, tests and class work can all be done from the tablet. There are teacher grade books and other educational software options available. For both education and business users, there is already a great array of software “in the cloud” and available wherever you go via Wi-Fi or 3G or 4G connectivity. And for Bobbie, just send her to her room with the CIUS and take the television back.
On the other hand, Google video chat also works with ūmi. Speaking of Google, how you could miss the introduction of Google TV (official blog). Finally, “TV, apps, search, and the entire web … together at last.” If you hate the running bars of news at the bottom of the screen during the news, you will hate this with an intense passion. If you just can’t get enough data and convergence of media, this is like jumping into the balls at Chuck E. Cheese and getting out into the first snow of the year at the same time.
Google TV works with your existing HD television and broadband connection to allow you to search across every channel, every web application and the entire content of the web at the same time. It is video, audio and the web at the same time on the same screen and in HD. From the streaming music and movies to shopping, it’s on Google TV. Your mobile phone is your remote control. From sports to news, it is highly customizable with video and web content.
This is more than just watching all the games – it can be as interactive and stat filled as your little heart desires. Watch Citizen Kane check out IMDB at the same time.
Thinking about it, George Jetson had the big screen interactive television, but not in HD. But honestly, Rosie the Robot was no Google.