This morning Cisco released a videoconferencing tool for consumers, adding to a suite of  technological offerings that have the potential to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

The idea is that, at the right price-point, people will use telepresence to connect with one another by video, thus eliminating some portion of global travel. However, the $599 price tag on Cisco's new product, called Umi, has left some wondering if it will generate many customers.

And though Umi has the benefit of high definition (if you have an HD television already), I'm not sure I'd swap my free video Skype calls for Cisco's expensive hardware anytime soon.

Despite possible lack of immediate appeal, Cisco's release of a consumer telepresence tool is a good indicator that the company continues to take the development of climate solutions offerings seriously, and is working to broaden the reach of those solutions from the business to consumer market.

Cisco scored at the top of Version 3 of the Cool IT Leaderboard for exemplifying the potential of IT products and services to cut emissions and improve efficiency across the economy. (You can read more about this potential in the Climate Group's SMART 2020 report.)

Cisco also provided various calculators, which explain its metrics and assumptions as well as calculations of emissions savings in regards to the use of Cisco services, ranging from the company’s telepresence to connected buildings and workplace.

With Version 4 of the Leaderboard fast-approaching, we will soon see whether Cisco submits new data quantifying the potential greenhouse gas savings of this new product offering. 

Of course, first Cisco will have to make the assumption that consumers will actually buy it.