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Hanging at Shane Battier’s House

We are in the early stages of developing an online series that profiles well known people with a focus on their passion for consumer technology. One of our first episodes will be with Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets. Last month a few of us got to hang out with Shane at his house for the day. At the end, I was left with two impressions: 1. Shane is a really nice, grounded guy who happens to play pro baseketball for a living 2) He is really into technology and very articulate about what it means to him. His episode and several others should be coming out in a few months so stay tuned. In the meantime check out Shane’s karaoke version of Neil DiamondThankfully he is a very good basketball player.Register for Cisco’s new web series Digital Cribs.To learn more about visual networking go to: Wikipedia

Commentary on Visual Networking

While conducting my daily scan of YouTube for new surfing videos I discovered this clip of a discussion a colleague of mine had with Shiny Media in the UK last month on the topic of visual networking. Patricia does a great job of getting the major points across. Only question I had was about the wallpaper in the background. Check it out…To learn more about visual networking go to: Wikipedia

Commentary on Visual Networking

While conducting my daily scan of YouTube for new surfing videos I discovered this clip of a discussion a colleague of mine had with Shiny Media in the UK last month on the topic of visual networking. Patricia does a great job of getting the major points across. Only question I had was about the wallpaper in the background. Check it out…Sign-up for Cisco’s new web series Digital Cribs.

Network v. Device: A Marketing Challenge

People understand things they can touch and interact with. That simple truth highlights the challenge of marketing the relevance of a network. At Cisco we have had great success marketing the value of the network to service providers, large businesses and more advanced small businesses. We are now focused on extending that effort to consumers. To do this we need to selectively leverage strategies that worked in the past, but also develop new approaches that recognize the differences between audiences. Ultimately the network is critical to the consumer experience. Getting consumers to understand this is the task for Cisco. I’m often asked what does Cisco hope to bring to the consumer market. How are we different than everyone else? This is a wonderful question, but also one that could generate an extremely long response. Sparing the person who asked the question a long-winded answer that includes PowerPoint slides, videos, and primary research results I usually just say-we focus on the network and everybody else is focused on the device. This is perhaps an overly simplistic way of looking at the competitive environment, but it generally holds to be true. If the person is sufficiently engaged and is willing to hear more I elaborate on the benefits of a network-based approach to delivering the experience that consumers want. There are basically (3) areas where the network will have a huge impact on the consumer experience:1.Connect -Most people get this concept. The network is what moves content from point A to point B allowing me to access a webpage or download a video over the internet. However, this is just table stakes. As the network becomes more intelligent, it allows video content to be seamlessly available across multiple devices (Mobile phone, PC, TV) allowing the user to access their favorite content on their device of choice in multiple locations. To illustrate, a child would be able to watch their favorite Saturday morning cartoon. Halfway through the program the family needs to leave to go visit Grandma. The parent would be able to pause the show, load the family into the car and re-start the video from where it left off and play it on the rear headrest video screen.2.Discover -This concept is a bit more difficult. People understand”search” whether that is for a file on their PC, scrolling through their songs on their iPod or entering a word into a search engine. Search works very well when you know what you’re looking for. The concept of discovery is based upon the fact that in a world of infinite content choices it’s impossible for any one person to know exactly what they are looking for all of the time. The consequence of this is that we miss movies, TV shows, short form videos and music that could be of interest to us. For us to be aware of these things we need to be able to tap into the wisdom and interests of people who are similar. This requires the network to bridge across different devices, websites and social networks and the intelligence to establish contextual relationships between individuals and content. 3.Experience -As video becomes more and more prevalent in our everyday lives and is integrated into social networks and communications the quality of that video will become much more critical. Today people are generally willing to sacrifice quality for the novelty and convenience of watching a funny user generated video on YouTube. But with advances in HD consumers will come to expect a higher quality experience. Higher resolution, instant access with no delays and real-time interaction. Certainly devices will evolve to better display video, but ultimately the more important evolution will be in the networks ability to provide the best possible multimedia experience.If you think about some of today’s most popular devices and websites, they typify the walled garden approach. To use the device or participate in the social network you consciously choose to abide by the rules of the walled garden. This minimizes consumer choice and creates layers of products/services that don’t work together. This is the dilemma faced by the consumer electronics industry. Consumers are saturated with devices and now want those devices to work together.Our challenge is to develop products that bridge across these walled gardens and help consumers understand the role and importance of more powerful networks and the services delivered over them. View Michael Kisch's profile on LinkedInTo learn more about visual networking go to: WikipediaSign-up for Cisco’s new web series Digital Cribs.

Social Networking Evolution : Vertical or Horizontal?

Although social networking is all the rage today and seems quite new, it’s existed in rudimentary forms from the very beginning of network access with a 300 baud modem -from The Well, to GeoCities, to Friendster, and of course today the ubiquitous MySpace and Facebook. All of these”social networks” are horizontal -that is to say that anyone can (and does) join. Discussions, topics and content are free-ranging. But is a community of 30+ million people a”community” at all? If we look at the evolution of other media, we see a pattern of segmentation and specialization. Is that the direction social networking will go?Newspapers were (and mostly still are) general interest publications. But the Internet has dramatically affected them with sites targeted at specialized content (TMZ, ESPN, Drudge, Marketwatch, TechCrunch) picking off the general interest population and leading to steady circulation declines in traditional newspapers. Similarly, magazines started off as general interest (Look, Life, Saturday Evening Post, etc) -but where are general interest magazines today? Swamped with special interest publications (People, Car and Driver, Golf, Travel&Leisure, etc) and focused web sites. Network television is also decreasing in viewership as more satellite/cable special interest channels are available to more people.So will the general social networking sites be marginalized by vertical social networks? There are starting to be more and more vertical social networking sites -early vertical sites have tended to be organized by profession (linkedin, military.com, policelink, techcommunity, etc) as the lead-generation business model for such sites is well-developed. With the growth of tools for creating specialized social networking sites becoming more readily available (Ning, Cisco Eos) -we’ll be seeing more and more vertical social networks -and my guess is that horizontal social networks will be fewer in number and experience a plateau in growth, if not an eventual decline.KW