Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cisco launches Web-based video product

The biggest U.S. network equipment maker also said it would unveil a video conferencing system in October and sell more consumer video products in coming years to diversify its business of making routers and switches that direct Internet traffic.

Cisco said its latest product, called the Cisco Digital Media System, will help companies broadcast executives' speeches to customers or offer on-demand training videos to employees. It could also, for example, allow governments to open meetings to the public, and enable schools to offer lectures online.

The product is comprised of an encoder, media manager and portal, and will be connected to the Cisco network, enabling smoother video delivery, Marthin De Beer, vice president of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology Group, told Reuters.

De Beer said Cisco's video conferencing product would enable real-time, high-quality video communications between multiple parties, although he declined to give details ahead of its launch next month.

Cisco officials, including chief executive John Chambers, have said video conferencing technology could one day eliminate the need for business travel.

Mike Volpi, Cisco's senior vice president and general manager of the routing and service provider technology group, said the company's expansion into the video market would help it keep growing despite slower equipment spending by phone carriers as they merge.

"Video will be the biggest bandwidth user and enabling its delivery is going to be the primary driver for network building," he told Reuters.

Volpi also said Cisco in the next few years will introduce more consumer-targeted video products such as cable set-top boxes and video surveillance products, building on its acquisitions of home router maker Linksys and cable set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta.

"On the consumer side, you'll see us introduce broader and broader products: set top boxes of many kinds, home networking equipment that allows video to be moved around the home," he said.

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