Cisco Appliance Puts Video Atop Unified Communications, Collaboration

Enterprise networking giant Cisco introduces the Cisco Media Experience Engine (MXE) 3000 appliance, a video processing engine to help users format and play video on any PC, HD-TV or mobile and wireless devices. Cisco is painting video as the front door to messaging and collaboration systems, helping remote users communicate more effectively. Cisco's dip into video recalls moves by Google in recent months to add video to applications, including voice and video chat in Gmail.

With video rapidly becoming the premier medium of information delivery on the Internet, Cisco Systems Dec. 8 today introduced the Cisco Media Experience Engine (MXE) 3000 appliance, which let users view content on PCs, high-definition TVs and mobile devices.
Such capability, packed in a pizza-box like 1RU device, formats a single source of content so that it is playable on any device.

The product is handy at a time when user-generated content is propelling video from an array of disparate video sources. The MXE 3000 can help users at home communicate and enable business workers to better collaborate on projects.

The device also provides real-time post production and processing capabilities, including watermarking, voice and video editing, text and image overlays and noise reduction. This allows users to customize content with company logo overlays, transitions, file clipping, and color and video quality enhancements.

A Cisco spokesperson said in a video demonstration that two manufacturing facilities -- one in the U.S. and one in Asia -- exchanging design ideas on a product can use the MXE 3000 to share video representations of the design and discuss them.
The spokesperson also processed his own video demo with the MXE 3000 and played it back on his iPhone and PC.

Starting at $50,000 per device, the MXE 3000 is the first in a portfolio of appliances that format video and rich media for delivery live or on-demand across any end point device. The box is part of the networking giant's broader "medianet" technology suite for helping Internet networks deliver video in home networks and enterprises.
A Cisco spokesperson told Eweek: "We see the creation of these new media-optimized products as a major evolution in networking."
Cisco believes the trend is important because, it claims, "data-based communications are being replaced by video and rich media, which is straining the architectural foundations of both public and private networks serving consumers and businesses."
This positioning smacks of another spin on UCC (unified communications and collaboration), with video taking the lead role. For example, Cisco said that this video processing path will eventually lead to language translations over Cisco TelePresence, the company's video conferencing platform.
Indeed, Cisco's bullish bent on video platforms is amplified by statistics from the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast for 2007-2012.
Among the findings are that professional and traditional broadcast video content will become 80 percent of all Internet video viewed on PCs/laptops by 2012. Moreover, traffic associated with user-generated video content will triple from 2008 to 2012, Cisco claims.
Cisco's move today isn't a lark. Google in September added a video application for Google Apps, convinced like Cisco that video communications is exploding. Google cemented its stance last month by adding voice and video chat for its Gmail app.
The bottom line is that, if you're not doing it already, you will eventually be using video combined with telephony technology to communicate with friends and loved ones, as well as colleagues and business partners.