CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

Summary: Cisco's vision for Connected TV represents what CES is all about - a revolutionary idea that gets both consumers and the industry excited. For that, Cisco deserves top honors.

TOPICS: Hardware, Cisco, Mobility

CES 2011

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.

Grade: A

Topics: Hardware, Cisco, Mobility

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  • RE: CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

    Sam, Great article.
    Saw a Umi commercial last night, looks like it could be a winner.
  • Cisco "Talk the Talk" but I don't see the "Walk the Walk"

    Cisco's story is a "Vision."

    Apple, Google and yes, poor old Microsoft are actually delivering this vision.

    You gave Ballmer and the Microsoft keynote a hard time. Fair enough, it wasn't exciting, but they are delivering the connected vision. Xbox can be an AT&T U-Verse endpoint, with DVR capability. It supports VOD with Netflix, Zune, ESPN and now Hulu.

    Why do you need a proprietary UMI at $600 plus $25 a month when Kinect can communicate with 300M Windows Live users?

    WP7 supports Zune, Netflix and U-Verse. Today.

    The PC has Windows Media Center, Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, U-Verse, Fancast, and all the other web TV services.

    All of this rides on the Cisco network already.

    So, what's the point of Videoscape again?
    • RE: CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

      Based on the tone of your comment, anyone explaining to you would be wasting there time.
      Here is an idea lunch you browser and type Umi in the little window.
      • Go ahead and waste your time and explain...

        I lunched my browser, but it wasn't that hungry. It didn't even offer to pay for lunch.

        I love Cisco visions. I have bought into them for many years as a network engineer and now a UC engineer. I still have the battle scars and nightmares over these visions.

        The Videoscape vision is laughable. Best of CES? Really? I watched the video several times and still can't figure out what's new.

        This stuff is already being DELIVERED today by several companies. I used Microsoft as an example because Sam Diaz didn't like what he saw at their keynote, even though they demonstrated exactly what Cisco are envisioning.

        I could quite easily have used Apple or Google as both are "walking the walk."

        Umi is an expensive one trick pony. Even my Comcast 12M download and 2M upload is not good enough to use it. The Cisco website told me to come back when I get a better Internet connection.

        For $900 (A single Umi plus one year service) I can buy a two Xboxes with Kinects and have change for a couple of Xbox gold and Netflix subscriptions and stack of games. Or how about 3 iPhones and 4 Apple TVs? A couple of PCs and webcams?

        The whole point of Cisco being at CES is to try and stay relevent in the consumer space. They make good network gear but I don't see what they can offer when products are already out there that are better and are much cheaper.
      • RE: CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

        You sound angry that Cisco would even think about bringing a new product to the field. I enjoy working with Cisco products, I have no nightmares or scars. Some just seem to have a gift running Cisco products.
        You might do better if you go about life with an open mind, as things you have known are changing.

        Umi is looking like a winner.
  • RE: CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

  • A

    "its attitude toward partnerships. He talked about bringing everyone from content providers to service providers together to make this vision a reality."

    Spot on.
    If content providers, indexers, OS writers, application developers, network providers and ISP's got together to carve out an interoperable architecture which allowed them to share out the spoils fairly ... instead of continually fighting their own corner and claiming everybody else was wrong (or just trying to beat them into the ground) ... then their business would improve ... and so would the life of all their customers.

    Chances are though the war will continue.
  • RE: CES: Cisco deserves top honors for vision and Videoscape

    I had not heard of umi prior to this discussion so I checked out their website. Then I tracked down the Cisco keynote and watched it. I am unimpressed.

    It seems that umi might provide a better experience than Skype or Live Messenger, but is it worth a $600 box PLUS $21.99 / month in service fees (1 year up front)? This is on top of the broadband internet connection you are already paying for. Incidentally, their test told me to upgrade, but I already pay for the fastest internet available in my region.

    And their connected TV vision? Netflix's reality is already almost as good as Cisco's vision. I can watch a Netflix movie on my phone and pick it up right where I left off on a myriad of devices. Hulu is also sprinting forward with the number of devices they support.

    I will agree that the execution of Microsoft's keynote was not as good as it could have been. Frankly, the Windows Phone segment was difficult to watch. However, I think the message was about ubiquitous computing and that encompasses Cisco's vision and goes beyond. Way beyond. Kinect and Surface are great demos of non-traditional ways of interacting with computers that will be common place in the future. While I could really care less about Windows 8 on Arm, the point is that these devices come in all shapes and sizes. The more these devices get connected, the more places Windows can exist and Microsoft is preparing for that future.
    Rich Miles