If you\u2019re an enterprise executive, Cisco Systems wants to put you on TV\u2014big-screen, high-definition TV.The curtain is set to rise Monday on a videoconferencing system that delivers life-size images of conference participants in real-time with the highest video definition commercially available. Integrated with high-quality speakers and specially built meeting tables, it also makes remote participants\u2019 voices seem to come from where they appear. Cisco calls the system its TelePresence Meeting solution, and although industry analysts don\u2019t think it will make videoconferencing a must-have throughout the business world, it does look ready to make long-distance meetings more lifelike. The Cisco TelePresence 3000, designed for meetings of as many as 12 people around a virtual table, uses three cameras and three large plasma displays. In front of each seat at the table is a built-in microphone, and speakers at the other participating location correspond to each microphone\u2019s location. A built-in white panel above the screen floods soft, even light onto the participants. Users can project presentations on a white screen below the video displays, and whiteboarding is a future capability, said Randy Harrell, director of product marketing for Cisco\u2019s TelePresence Business Unit.The system is designed to make virtual meetings as realistic as possible, but it\u2019s also intended to make it easier to have them. TelePresence is integrated with Cisco\u2019s CallManager software for IP telephony and with Microsoft Exchange, so conferences can be started up just by calling the other conference room\u2019s number on an IP phone.The TelePresence 3000 and the single-screen TelePresence 1000 are standard systems that can be set up in just two days, Harrell said. Few changes need to be made to a typical enterprise conference room, he said. That means customers can go to selected regular Cisco channel partners for the system rather than paying for audiovisual specialists. In addition, TelePresence can run on an enterprise\u2019s standard IP data network. It requires 10Mbps with low latency across the LAN and WAN, which may require upgrades for some users, analysts said. For the wide-area network, Verizon Communications\u2019 Verizon Business unit said its Private IP services can already support the system, and enterprises can allocate bandwidth to it part time or full time.The TelePresence 3000 and 1000 are expected to ship in December. For two locations, the 3000 will start at US$299,000 and the 1000 model at $79,000. A year of support is included. Hewlett-Packard\u2019s recently released Halo system is in the same class as TelePresence, though Cisco seems to have the edge in video quality, said Yankee Group Research analyst Zeus Kerravala. The new class of systems represents a big leap ahead, he said."I wouldn\u2019t even compare it to videoconferencing. It\u2019s like comparing a race car to highway driving," Kerravala said.Cisco has improved the quality of videoconferencing, which often has been spotty and visually poor, analysts said. Cisco demonstrated the system last week with a virtual meeting between its San Jose, Calif., headquarters and a site in New York. Participants looked and sounded natural, but for most of them it wasn\u2019t possible to look each other in the eye. That would require three-dimensional video and 1Tbps of bandwidth, and it\u2019s at least four to five years away, according to Cisco.-Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)Related Links:\n\nCisco Gets Into Enterprise Video Publishing\n\nHP, Cisco Team on Enterprise Wireless LANs\n\nSamsung Shows 70-Inch HD LCD Panel\n\nCisco, Cognio to Tackle Wi-Fi InterferenceCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.