Cisco Unveils Videoscape

LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- Cisco ( CSCO) beefed up its service provider strategy at CES, unveiling its Videoscape technology that aims to provide TV and Internet content on a range of consumer devices, from TV sets to smartphones and tablets.

"Key partnerships with service providers were required to pull this off," said John Chambers, the Cisco CEO, during a press event at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. "This is what we think is the future is."
Cisco CEO John Chambers

The Cisco chief confirmed that Australian telecom giant Telstra is already using Videoscape, and added that "some of the big U.S. players" are trialing the technology.

Cisco had been expected to unveil a a set-top box combining Internet and traditional TV at CES. Videoscape is a broader solution, encompassing a number of different technologies. In the home, this includes a media gateway for integrating voice and video and routing traffic, an IP set-top box and a set of software clients that can extend content to devices such as smartphones and tablets.

"It really is a software architectural announcement," said Chambers. "Anybody has access with any authorization to any content."

With tablet devices one of tech's biggest fronts, Cisco promised to ready software that will allow users to share content from their TV sets onto tablets.

Cisco is also offering its Videoscape Media Suite software to service providers and cable operators, which lets them manage content. The networking giant also launched its Conductor for Videoscape, which handles services and subscriber-management across the cloud, the network and client devices.

In keeping with tradition, Chambers was joined on stage at CES by his long-time demo sidekick Jim Grubb, who used Videoscape to share a clip of Chambers recorded on a Flip video camera. Chambers also indulged in some basketball banter with his Snuggie-wearing "cousin Ken," who was linked up to Videoscape via one of Cisco's Umi telepresence systems.

Video has become Cisco's mantra in recent years, as the switchmaker attempts to open up fresh revenue streams and boost demand for its core networking gear. The tech giant, which competes with Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Juniper ( JNPR), estimates that every dollar spent on its video technology drives $5 worth of networking sales.

Cisco shares closed up 25 cents, or 1.22%, at $20.77 on Wednesday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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