Cisco pushes video conferencing

March 3rd, 2011 | by Chan Chi-Loong

If there’s an overarching theme that Cisco is pushing at their Cisco Channel Partner 2011 event at New Orleans, first and foremost is cloud.

A second key theme would be video.

Not surprising, given Cisco’s foray into this area in recent years: Cisco Telepresence for the big enterprises, Tandberg’s video conferencing (which Cisco acquired for US$3.4 billion in late 2009) for the mid-range and WebEx hosted solutions for the SMB space.

Both CEO John Chambers and CTO Padmasree Warrior mentioned video more than a couple of times during their keynotes yesterday and today.

“By 2013, 90 percent of all consumer IP traffic will be video,” said John in his keynote yesterday, reflecting Cisco’s bullishness about the potential for this market.

In fact video is one of five key critical pillars of Cisco’s strategy that he identified yesterday. The other four are:

  • cloud and virtualization (no surprises here)
  • collaboration (unified communications, but also a shoutout to Quad, their social media collaboration tool)
  • core networking: routing, switching and services
  • business and technology architectures. (i.e. a bigger slice of the pie than just products or solutions, so server players like HP, Dell watch out!)

To push the video message, they are offering 92 percent off WebEx – typically US$49 a month for one account, now US$5 a month — for partners at the event. The hope, of course, is technology evangelism and for the partners to use WebEx themselves.

And this makes perfect sense as Cisco announced a new channel offering today that gave partners a cut for reselling Cisco WebEx Meeting Center to SMBs.

Looks like Cisco is pushing the video message hard.

Speaking of SMBs, Cisco announced a couple of initiatives today aimed squarely at this space, including new products like the Cisco Unified 300 series and Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000.

According to Rick Moran, vice president of marketing for Cisco’s Small Business technology Group, the SMB space has a global addressable market of US$8 billion, and more could be done to tackle this space.

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