LAS VEGAS - I knew coming in to CES this week that Connected TV was going to have a presence and was somewhat bummed that Google scaled back Google TV's presence at the show (though thanks to Google for throwing in that sweet Honeycomb demo). So I was intrigued when Cisco said the theme for its CES Press Conference would be centered about the revolution of TV.
I've followed Cisco for some time now and have watched as it's pounded that "Video's Gonna Be Big" drum, especially as it get deeper into telepresence with the Umi launch. So it wasn't a big leap to think that Cisco would take all of that and try to make its own mark in the Connected TV space. But I have to say that, after seeing the demo and listening to John Chambers make his case and sell his vision, I was impressed.
Cisco, in my opinion, deserves top honors for bringing a true technological vision to the Consumer Electronics Show. Television remains the biggest medium - and despite the rise in mobile and tablets and anything else that may come along, I don't see that living room screen going away. And that's the point - that screen in the living room is no longer the "TV." It's the big screen in the living room, as opposed to the little screen in your pocket.
Cisco gets that.
But here's one of the other reasons I'd hand my top CES Award to Cisco: its attitude toward partnerships. He talked about bringing everyone from content providers to service providers together to make this vision a reality. Sure, in cool YouTube videos (like the one embedded below), it looks easy. But there's a complex network powering all of that video transfer. He said:
It sounds simple but it’s really not…. It really requires an architecture. You can’t do it with individual pieces…
I'm really looking forward to seeing the vision for Cisco's Videoscape to play out. The company has proven itself to be a leader and visionary in the networked video space and that has me feeling optimistic about this next move.
One final thought about CES: There are a lot of products here to see and there's no way that one person - let alone a team of bloggers - can see it all. But we do get around - and there was one observation that stuck out. I have to say that this year's CES (and I've been to more than my share) had a new spark to it, like we all know that we're turning a technological corner and all of these people came to Vegas to jump on the ride. From the chatter overheard on the crowded monorail trains to the cell phone conversations overheard everywhere else, there's a feeling of excitement in the air.
Connected TV. Smartphones. Tablets. 3D. Multimedia. Cloud services.
The next wave is coming and everyone here is getting ready for it. Well, almost everyone. I was very hard on Microsoft in a post about Steve Ballmer's Wednesday night keynote speech. And while some readers didn't like what I had to say, there's no sugarcoating the fact that Microsoft offered no vision in that speech. I was there. And it was kinda sad.
But there were other highlights to kick start the momentum and Larry Dignan picked some good ones for his top CES honors in a post earlier today. Nvidia. Motorola Mobility. Samsung. All very worthy.
As for me, Cisco gets the winner's ribbon. Not only is the company giving the consumer a new video/TV experience to get excited about but it's also pumping some life into the other tentacles of the tech industry with all this partnership chatter.