The new system, which includes a line of digital media encoders, a digital media manager and a video portal, is the first fully integrated offering from a well-known brand in a market that the enterprise has "underappreciated," according to Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at rich media consulting company Wainhouse Research, headquartered in Duxbury, Mass.
There are a host of small companies that provide video streaming and Webcasting offerings, but those companies "have always lacked the footprint and reputation in the enterprise. These companies were battling the solution itself, because enterprises didnt understand the value proposition," said Weinstein, in Atlanta.
By addressing content capture, content management and content delivery, Cisco can help enterprises "get through the entire process," he said.
Cisco, which looks at video streaming and Webcasting as an emerging technology, believes that greater consumer adoption of the technology will be followed by greater business interest, according to Thomas Wyatt, general manager of Ciscos Digital Media Management Business Unit, in San Jose, Calif.
"The unique thing we did with this is tie it into the network. We tied [network] intelligence into our software that will figure out where and how to publish [video streams] to ensure high-quality digital media for our customers," Wyatt said.
Toward that end, the new Cisco Digital Media Manager can interact with Ciscos Application Content Networking products to provide efficient delivery of video content. "Instead of pushing video out to every end user, we can use ACNS software that the Digital Media System publishes to in order to replicate digital video once over the network. The content can sit close to where the user is going to view it," he explained.
"The Cisco solution and a few others do intelligent positioning of the content. The system will populate content locally when you enter where people will access it from. Its a very efficient way of protecting your production environment. … The content is not valuable if it stops production," Weinstein said.
Furthermore, Ciscos system can be used by businesspeople to create, schedule and deliver digital video content. "You dont have to be an IT person to figure out how to create and distribute media assets," Wyatt said.
The system includes the Cisco Digital Media Encoder 1000, a portable encoder that allows users to capture video streams from any location. It also includes a studio encoder, the Cisco Digital Media Encoder 2000, which handles multiple video streams simultaneously.
The Cisco Digital Media Manager is a Web-based application that allows users to import digital media assets and perform management, scheduling and deployment of assets out to end devices.
The Cisco Video Portal allows end users to search and view digital video content. It includes a customizable program guide, personalized playlists and a usage reporting system. The portal is integrated with Ciscos Digital Media Manager and supports Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and Flash file formats. Cisco also plans to add support for QuickTime and MPEG4 late in 2006.
The system, which starts at $133,000, is available now.