Cisco Closes $95 Million Acquisition of Inlet Technologies

Cisco moves farther into digital media processing with the acquisiton of Inlet, an Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) specialist.

Communications giant Cisco announced it has completed its acquisition of privately held Inlet Technologies, a provider of Adaptive Bit Rate digital media processing platforms. Based in Raleigh, N.C., Inlet was acquired to help strengthen the capabilities of Cisco's Videoscape TV platform, allowing service and content providers to deliver video experiences to a variety of devices over any Internet Protocol (IP) network.

Cisco Videoscape is a TV platform for service providers that brings together digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications with the intention of creating an immersive home and mobile video entertainment experience. Inlet's ABR technology, which is used in streaming multimedia over managed and unmanaged networks, adapts the quality of the video stream based on real-time network conditions.

Cisco said in a statement that Inlet would bring to the company a strong team that understands the complexities of delivering ABR video over IP networks to any device. With the close of the acquisition, Inlet employees become part of Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco paid approximately $95 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for all shares of Inlet.

ABR technology works by detecting a user's bandwidth and CPU capacity in real time and adjusting the quality of a video stream accordingly. It requires the use of an encoder, which can encode a single source video at multiple bit rates. The player client switches between streaming the different encodings depending on available resources.

The acquisition confirms Cisco's focus on its video strategy. In a mobile-data forecast released at the end of January, the company projected a big surge of demand for video across smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices. The company also has made a number of video acquisitions in the past year, including the consumer-oriented Flip digital cameras and Norwegian video-conferencing company Tandberg. The software-based content-management system from Cisco's Extendmedia acquisition powers Videoscape's content-management system, the company said.

"Service and content providers have a tremendous opportunity to deliver exciting video experiences as media consumption increases across mobile, desktop, and smart devices," said Enrique Rodriguez, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's service provider video technology group. "Cisco's Videoscape platform will play a key role in reinventing the TV experience, and the acquisition of Inlet will enable our customers to leverage the network as a platform to deliver innovative video experiences to consumers on any device."