Cisco Sees Its Future in Video, Collaboration Networking

With a prediction that as much as 90 percent of Internet traffic will be video by 2015, Cisco Systems is shifting its focus to videoconferencing and unified communications in the enterprise space and delivery of entertainment content over multiple network devices.

Cisco Systems, citing industry forecasts that up to 90 percent of network traffic will be video by 2015, is placing more of its eggs in the video networking basket, executives said, with an emphasis on video conferencing and collaboration in the enterprise space and delivering multiple entertainment streams to consumers.

"Cisco is in the video business not for the sake of being in the video business. We're in the video business because we're a networking company and the future is all about network video," said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and general manager of the Video Collaboration Group at Cisco, during a recent day-long presentation to technology publication editors at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

There are two main components to Cisco's Video Collaboration Group: one is the delivery of enterprise class video conferencing-such as its high-end telepresence system-as well as related unified communications technology for holding business meetings with participants scattered globally; and networking infrastructure for service providers to supply multiple streams of high-definition video content to consumers.

While Cisco began in videoconferencing with its Immersive telepresence system-large room-size studios that were expensive to deploy-it eventually added more portable devices that were cheaper and integrated with desktop computers and laptops. It realized the value of "the network effect," which posits that the more video endpoints that can be deployed, the more people can meet and the more communication is facilitated. The videoconference space has also grown with competition from companies such as Polycom and Logitech through its acquisition of a company called LifeSize.