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Coming to a desk near you…DX70, DX80, and DX650

Cisco Employee

I have to envy my colleagues in the Cisco IT ACE program: they get to play with the latest toys.  For several months now they’ve been playing with the newest Cisco releases of video phones while the rest of us looked on. Just recently though, they’ve started showing up on Cisco desks. They’re sleek and look a little like Apple iMacs have taken over the workplace. The Cisco DX70 and DX80 have arrived and I’m certain if you could see them you’d be impressed. And you’d probably want to play with them, too. But what are they for?

“The DX’s are a game-changer,” says Ravi Sharma, manager, TelePresence services in GIS, “they’re replacements for the EX’s and essentially, the DX70 is looking like a replacement for phones.” In my opinion, the DX650 may be a replacement for phones; the DX70 looks like a phone that I’ve never seen before (see Figure 1). It looks like a really good video phone.

And they do video phoning very well. Both the DX70 and DX80 support full 1080p, 30 frames per second video, with Extension Mobility, multiple lines, Bluetooth built in for your mobile earpiece along with very high quality audio. There’s a lot more to it than that, though. They are full touch-screens, with native 1920 x 1080 touch-sensitivity, they run native WebEx meeting client and Jabber with Presence built-in, and connect back to corporate VPN gateways using native AnyConnect VPN. And they also run any other Android 4 apps you load on, running on a secured Android platform.

So what are they? Video phones? Android touch-screen smartpads? Backup PCs? Well, all of these, plus, a handy second monitor.

That’s the short answer, however, I’d like to delve a little deeper into what makes these devices interesting and exemplary. First of all, these devices are personal collaboration endpoints designed to sit on an executive’s desk. (Although I find it interesting that engineers are the first to play with them, and our Sales teams are starting to demand theirs right away. Execs may have to wait their turn.)

Cisco is a frontrunner in mobility and flexibility when it comes to the workplace. Cisco IT just won the 2014 IDG CITE Award for best business computing environment, based on the range of device choice and flexibility we give our employees. Bringing new and better video to the desktop is a part of Cisco IT’s mission to provide the workforce with video everywhere, and with more choice in the devices they use.

The key idea behind these new DX series endpoints – they are firstly, personal TelePresence units. They’re replacing the EX Series of TelePresence devices, which have already been pretty popular at Cisco with over 7500 of them deployed. What makes the DX Series better than something that already works, and really well too? They are based on a touch screen, full HD, Security Enhanced Android platform. So even though they’re high-end TelePresence devices, they’re also an equally important personal collaboration device. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Cisco DX70 and Cisco DX80


In action, the interface is pretty simple to use if you’ve had any experience with touch screen devices, even better if you’re familiar with Android devices. If not, they come with a standard setup wizard. Aside from the ease of setup, the video quality, and the small desktop footprint for a good-sized screen, what I think is cool about the DX70 and DX80 is the ability to share your apps while on a call. As it is an Android platform, you have full access to the Google Play store where you’ll find all our apps including WebEx, Cisco Jabber, Cisco Docs, and Citrux Receiver for connecting to remote desktop.

The DX650 is more like our traditional IP Phones, with a touch screen, and high-quality audio that we’ve come to expect from Cisco telephony. This device also runs on the Security Enhanced Android platform. Like the others, you can customize it with wallpapers, widgets, and screen layouts, too, which makes a difference when you’re trying to make the phone part of your personal workspace.

Figure 2. Cisco DX650


Who will use this technology?

From the people I’ve talked to at Cisco, most of whom want one of these on their desk, I’d have to say anyone with a phone on their desk. And that includes me, working from my home office. Being a remote worker can be a bit isolating at times, and while it saves time, increases my productivity, and enables a better work-life balance for me and my family, being remote from your team can take a social toll. As the price point makes the DX70’s and DX80’s affordable, it offers remote workers the ability to attend TelePresence meetings from home with the same experience they would have in the office – at least, outside of an immersive TelePresence room. It brings us closer to our colleagues which is what TelePresence is meant to do.

While the DX Series is designed for a traditional executive office environment or a quiet virtual office, it is replacing the Executive EX90’s for a reason. I talked about this in my MX Series blog earlier, but it’s not enough to have TelePresence screens in every room. We have a real-estate problem at Cisco. TelePresence rooms are not always available, and while the MX Series tackles this problem with affordable screens, the DX Series tackles the ‘every desk’ situation by upgrading the popular EX series.

Terell Johnson, IT analyst, Cisco Global Infrastructure Services (Advanced Cisco Experience), explains, “They give enterprises and businesses the ability to not have to deploy laptops, monitors, or phones. They’re virtual desktops; it’s your video client, it’s your phone, its high definition. I’ve recently cleared 4 units off my desk to replace them with [just] the DX80.”

So depending on needs, it’s a great high-end video phone, or a touchscreen smartpad, or an extra, bigger monitor for your laptop. It’s got quick access to widgets and dashboards. It’s a WebEx connecting device which is something I do every day, usually multiple times a day. And there are a series of ports too so you can connect a wireless mouse, keyboard, headset, external camera, memory stick or thumb drive, to add more capabilities.

Some of the specs of the DX series devices:

  • DX70 is a 14-inch, 16:9 touch screen device, 1080p HD video capability (bandwidth dependent), with Extension Mobility to support multiple profiles for hot-desking and shared workspaces
  • DX80 is a 23-inch device with the same options
  • DX650 7-inch, 16:9, touch screen IP phone

For more about the DX80, you can check here and for more about the DX70, right here. To see more about the DX650, click here.

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