Cisco is dropping the Scientific Atlanta name, with a new generation of set-top boxes bringing its own brand into the heart of the home. The company has coined the term “visual networking” to describe both the connection of domestic consumer electronics devices and the social elements of media interaction. It is also talking about building an “entertainment operating system” to support communities of consumers.
Cisco Systems, best known for corporate network products, was founded by a group of computer scientists from Stanford University in 1984. It now has nearly 64,000 employees worldwide, with annual revenues of nearly $35 billion.
Having acquired video systems and set-top box company Scientific Atlanta for $6.9 billion in 2006, Cisco is sensibly dropping the name on its next generation of boxes.
Cisco also promote Linksys consumer networking products in association with its own brand, having acquired the company for $500 million in 2003.
The company is promoting the social applications of its consumer products, from accessing programming across multiple devices around the home, downloading to dockable portable devices, to sharing experiences through wider community networks.
Cisco has begun talking about a new kind of operating system, which it calls Eos, or entertainment operating system. It is intended to monitor the interaction of communities of consumers with each other and with media, ultimately offering recommendations.
“Video is the next wave of internet disruption,” said John Chambers, the chairman and chief executive of Cisco. “Cisco is at the forefront of this market transition, providing consumers with more choice, better navigation of content, higher quality video, and faster, more personalised interaction.”
Ken Wirt, vice president of consumer marketing at Cisco explained: “Clearly, video is taking consumer electronics by storm and has become the pivot point for home networking. Cisco calls this development ‘visual networking’. This concept also reflects the growing importance of mobility and social networking for consumers.”
“Video is dominating home networking and internet technologies. It is that simple. The appetite for all types of video from high-definition television programmes and movies to the wide range of internet content is exploding,” he said.
“During just one month in the United States last year, 9 billion video streams were viewed over the Internet by 133 million people — and that is just the beginning. Over the next four years, the number of devices capable of playing networked video is projected to increase 17-fold.”
“For me, it really feels like the start of the world wide web all over again. I think the changes will be that monumental.”