Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Cisco Makes a Push in Office Video, While Its Switching Business Is Under Attack

Investor confidence in Cisco Systems hasn’t yet come back after the company’s earnings report earlier this month, where it gave an outlook that disappointed analysts. However, one of the things that CEO John Chambers said will get the company firing on all cylinders again is video.

Today Cisco announced some moves on that front. It unveiled a new version of its TelePresence Content Server 5.0 that allows videos to be recorded and shared easily within a company. They’re also searchable, thanks to a network appliance called the Cisco MXE 3500 that can quickly tag the speakers and words in a video clip, so you can quickly forward to the important stuff–when the boss is talking–or search out key words that apply to your department and ignore the other stuff.

Cisco also announced some new video hardware, including a 47-inch TelePresence endpoint, aimed at offices or small conference rooms, as well as a line of IP phones that have cameras built in. Finally it brought out a “digital signage” product that serves as sort of a telepresence kiosk. Say you’re at a bank and see an ad on a display screen for a product or service that you want to know more about. Touching the screen triggers a video chat with a sales rep who will try to close the deal via live video chat.

The shares seem not to be responding in early trading. That may have something to do with word that Cisco is having trouble in its core networking business competing with Hewlett-Packard. HP is offering discounts to Cisco switching customers who–sorry–switch to HP, and Cisco is losing share. Meanwhile, Juniper Networks is out with a new line of networking gear today as well. As HP Networking head VP Marius Haas put it in a chat I had with him late last year, maybe people truly are “tired of paying for Cisco.” Will they be willing to pay for video?


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald