Cisco Unveils Cloud-based ‘Videoscape’ Platform for Service Providers

Cisco Unveils Cloud-based TV Platform

By Kiril Kirilov

Networking leader Cisco unveiled a new cloud-based TV platform targeting service providers worldwide at Consumer Electronics Show 2011 in Las Vegas last week. The core functionality of the new Cisco Videoscape®, include ability to combine digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications. Australia-based Telstra, a global service provider, already partners with Cisco in utilizing the Videsocape platform in search of new market opportunities.

Videoscape, which is still in beta testing by Telstra, will integrate voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi, and network traffic routing, according to Cisco CEO John Chambers.

“We aim to enable a new architecture tailored to making video content available across any network or device,” Chambers said during a keynote speech in Las Vegas. “The focus for service providers is on creating services that combine mobility, video networking and media in the home, while transforming the experience in general for the end user into much more of a personalized one,” he added.

Videoscape is advertised as an open platform that utilizes the cloud, the network, and client devices to deliver new video experiences over the Internet. The most innovative elements of the platform that are related to the cloud include 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. This is not a new idea, though, but Cisco managed to develop the concept into something that sounds promising.

Other new features include a media gateway  for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi and network traffic routing in addition to a Videoscape IP set-top box intended to support all video forms delivered to a TV, including pay TV, broadcast channels, premium channels, VoD and the Web.

The company also boasts a number of software clients allowing the Videoscape to extend the media experience to various home and mobile devices such as  connected TVs, tablets and smartphones. Additionally, the new platform features the Cisco Conductor for Videoscape, which is engineered to manage different services and subscriber-management functions across the cloud, the network and client devices.

It is not quite unexpected that Telstra representatives voiced satisfaction with the new platform offered by Cisco. “We see tremendous opportunity with IP video services that offer consumers interactive, internet-like experiences using both the TV and the PC. We worked with Cisco to deploy a Content Delivery Network that quickly proved to be a key differentiator for Telstra, and means we can provide products and services with a more consistent and reliable video experience to multiple devices.” David Thodey, Telstra’s CEO, said in a Cisco press release.

“Consumers are looking for a personalized TV experience that can be taken with them irrespective of location or device. Cisco Videoscape is the only entertainment solution available today that delivers this experience in full scope, combining all the necessary technology components of the cloud, the network and client devices.” Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Group, Cisco, added.

Speaking at CES 2011, Chambers revealed that the deployment of the new platform will be crucial for the company and service providers alike provided that some 50 billion devices will be connected to various networks while video traffic is growing at an annual rate of 50% recently. “The network should be seen as the platform. It’s not about the devices, it’s about underlying intelligence in the network and an underlying architecture.” Chambers explained.

Markets reacted positively to the news although Cisco posted worse than expected financial results recently. Many analysts issued a strong “buy” on Cisco Systems with some brokerages setting a price target of USD 32 in 2011. At present, the company’s shares are going up with trades conducted in the range of USD 20.60 to USD 21.00 per share.

PICTURE – Cisco Videoscape IP Set-top Box.

CHART Cisco Systems Stock Price (Last 3 months), Source: Google Finance

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