When Cisco first announced its intent to acquire TANDBERG in October of last year, I talked about how that acquisition was about much more than just video. I still believe that this single event represents the beginning of the converged (audio, video, and Web) conferencing era; but the combined company has indeed been on a streak of video activities. In 2010, Cisco has made more than a dozen video-related announcements about new products and capabilities, including TelePresence Exchange hosting by partners, the Cius HD video-capable collaboration device, new interoperability capabilities delivered via its proposed Telepresence Interoperability Protocol and Intercompany Media Engine, new home DVR capabilities delivered by Cox using Cisco set-top boxes , the Flip SlideHD video camera, video networking for NBC at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, as well as the use of telepresence by ESPN at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
On top of all this video activity, I was recently briefed by Cisco about its new business solution for video (Cisco Prosumer Video) based on the Cisco Flip MinoPRO video camera, and I was struck by two things
- I don’t care for the name — the word “prosumer” just rubs me the wrong way; like ecosystem and paradigm, it’s a word that I dislike using and yet still use all the time.
- I do like the solution. The combination of a Cisco Flip MinoPRO video camera and the Cisco FocalPoint software makes creating and sharing videos simple.
Just like cell phone cameras made it easy to share photos on Facebook for consumers (and prosumers alike) Cisco is taking strides to make it easy for business people to share their videos. For many people, it is easier to deliver a message if you can simply speak it into a camera and ship it off — Cisco Prosumer Video will help them deliver their messages faster and more clearly than a written communication. For those information workers who are less comfortable being on camera, the Cisco FocalPoint software will also make it easier for them to receive and understand the message leveraging video’s capability to deliver nonverbal messages.
I believe other vendors will continue to deliver solutions to enable the creation, archiving, and sharing of video content — players like Polycom and Qumu are doing it today — and that ultimately information workers will be able to easily and naturally use video for a greater proportion of their routine communications.
To demonstrate my point, I am recording this blog post using a Cisco Flip MinoHD video camera, which Cisco generously shared with me for that purpose, and am posting that video here on YouTube. Check it out and answer this question, “Which way do you prefer to receive this content — video or text?”