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Cisco brings telepresence home

Networking giant plans to test a home version of its telepresence video conferencing product.

LAS VEGAS--Cisco Systems will soon be testing a home version of its TelePresence video conferencing product, the company said Wednesday from the Consumer Electronics Show here.

Cisco, which is the world's largest supplier of networking equipment, has been selling videoconferencing equipment to large companies for the past few years.

Cisco's TelePresence 500, introduced in 2008 as a simpler, cheaper version of its of its high-end video conferencing systems for businesses. Cisco Systems

Now the company plans to provide consumers with a similar video conferencing experience at home. The telepresence system will use consumers' existing high-definition TV sets and broadband Internet connections.

Cisco plans to begin testing the home version of its telepresence product with Verizon Communications in the U.S. later this spring. And it will test the service in France through a partnership with France Telecom, the company said.

Cisco will be hosting a press conference here later today with more details of the new product and service.

This isn't Cisco's first move into the consumer market. Cisco has been selling home Wi-Fi routers through its Linksys brand for years. Last year it announced home audio products at CES. And it bought the portable video camera company that makes the Flip Video recorder last year. Cisco is also announcing enhancements to that product line at CES.