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Video on Demand: The Next Killer App?

April 9, 2005
at 12:00 pm PST

The Cisco Government Affairs team had an offsite this week and heard from a number of Cisco executives during our two and a half day session. One of those executives was Mike Volpi, Senior Vice President and General Manager of our Routing Technology Group, and for my money, one of the smartest individuals at Cisco. You can view his bio here. (This is an Adobe document)

One of the items he shared with us was that a customers of one well-known cable company were accessing 84 MILLION VOD (Video on Demand) titles a month!!! About 23 per active VOD customer per month. These are all bits and bytes and being accessed over an IP network. There are currently about 5000 titles being accessed and that number will only grow. Why is this VOD item interesting you might ask? There has always been the issue of the next “KILLER APPLICATION.” First, it was e-mail and that drove many people to sign up online. VoIP is proving to pull many people to broadband, but the VOD is seemingly having people access IP communications without leaving the comfort of their couch. The notion of TV and storage and IP communications is all merging.

This is interesting to me because it introduces the notion of the “future proof” network. In the past, when a new communications device was introduced a whole new communications infrastructure also had to be built. Telegraphs needed telegraph wires. Phones needed phone lines. TV’s needed a broadcasting system. Now, however, with the flexibility of IP -- the basic infrastructure for new communications can carry future communications services -- it can carry video…it can carry voice…it can carry data…what it can do is carry 1′s and 0′s, which is all those media are in the first place. Pretty cool concept and hopefully something that we will all benefit from as service providers build out their next generation networks.

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