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CES Feature Articles

January 06, 2011

Cisco Aims to Integrate Home Communications, Transform TV, With Videoscape

Folks in the industry have talked about the connected home for years, but with many consumers now using multiple devices, and telephone and cable TV companies under threat by over-the-top providers, pressure is building for solutions and services that integrate user TVs, computers, tablets and mobile devices – and the various types of content they are used to deliver. That said, it’s no surprise that Cisco Systems, Inc., has unveiled a new initiative to this effect. It’s called Videoscape, and Cisco (News - Alert) today introduced it, as well as five “major products” under the new brand, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers (News - Alert) emphasized how Videoscape will change the TV experience for consumers.

“Video will be the next voice,” he said, noting that by 2014 more than 90 percent of consumer Internet traffic will be video, and video will increase sevenfold.

Videoscape will address this new video trend and transform the TV experience by allowing customers to access both the traditional content they’re used to, as well as subscription-based programming, including content from over-the-top providers, and DVD movies and programs, he said. In describing this, Cisco showed a TV screen with an interface categorizing the various content types (not unlike the Apple (News - Alert) TV interface) as well as a “friends feed” that displayed video messages from others as those messages arrived.

Chambers then demonstrated how a Cisco media gateway, which handles all kinds of traffic, including voice, and the recently unveiled Cisco umi, could allow him and a buddy to send each other video messages about college basketball and, if they wanted, to tie other video or data in with those communications.

“Mobility is going to be a huge part of it,” Chambers added.

He said Videoscape will make the user interface consistent across all user devices, including all of the above-mentioned things as well as gaming devices, etc. It also keeps all devices in sync so if, for example, a consumer gets a video message from a friend, that message will appear both on the user’s laptop, on his TV, and on his phone.

But the delivery of the integrated home communications experience will not be delivered by Cisco alone, Chambers emphasized. Rather, it will involve an ecosystem of partners, including service providers, he said, noting that Telstra was in the audience at the Cisco press conference and is a Cisco service provider partner. However, Chambers didn’t comment on how, when or even whether Telstra is using or plans to use the Videoscape solutions.

“Service providers can do for the TV experience what mobile Internet did for the mobile phone,” he said.

New elements of Videoscape include:

In the home:

  • The Videoscape media gateway for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, WiFi and network traffic routing.
  • The Videoscape IP set-top box, engineered to support all video forms delivered to a TV, including pay TV, broadcast channels, premium channels, VoD and the Web.
  • Videoscape software clients that extend the Videoscape experiences to a wide variety of home and mobile devices, from connected TVs to tablets, smartphones and more.

In the cloud:

  • The Videoscape Media Suite, which offers full life-cycle content management so that service providers can efficiently and cost-effectively manage and publish content across multiple screens.

In the network:

All of the above are part of Cisco's medianet architecture, and work in conjunction with its existing portfolio of network products.

Robert De La Mora, senior director of IP Communications for Cisco Systems (News - Alert), Inc., will be speaking at ITEXPO East 2011.

To find out more about Roberto De La Mora and Cisco Systems, Inc., visit the company at ITEXPO East 2011. To be held Feb. 2-4 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. De La Mora is speaking during “The Next Generation of Voice over WLAN.” Don’t wait. Register now.


Edited by Tammy Wolf

Keynote Sessions

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