Embracing Disruptive Media You can expect to see more and more funny names within the Cisco galaxy of partners and customers as it focuses on delivering a coming flood of video traffic across the network and into the home.Most recently, Rainbow Media Holdings said it tapped Scientific Atlanta, a Cisco company, to deploy Scientific Atlanta’s PowerVu digital content distribution systems for the analog-to-digital migration of its programming. “With the explosion of new services and the bandwidth they require growing every day, Rainbow Media has greatly enhanced its ability to support new VOD (Video-on-Demand) and HD video services with the implementation of bandwidth-efficient digital video distribution,” said Dean Rockwell, vice president and general manager for Digital Media Networks at Scientific Atlanta. So get familiar with Rainbow Media’s lineup of cool television programming.The company owns a portfolio of cutting edge programming, including AMC, a 24-hour movie network; fuse, a music television network; and the Independent Film Channel.Rainbow is also deeply involved in Video-on-Demand (VOD) programming, with Mag Rack, designed for specific consumer audiences; and sportskool, a network dedicated to delivering in-depth sports expert instruction and coaching.Where else can you tips on skiing from Bode Miller, or soccer insight from Mia Hamm?
Real Unified CommunicationsIn a keynote at the Interop show in Las Vegas, Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers, spoke of how evolving collaboration systems will take the collaboration ability of dispersed organizations beyond anything now seen.”Collaboration isn’t about data or video or voice or mobility, it’s about how you combine that experience,” Chambers said, according to IDG News Service’s Stephen Lawson in a Network World story.”It will change how enterprises deal with customers and partners and even level the playing field among companies and countries, he (Chambers) said.” Lawson wrote:”Cisco’s push on collaboration is part of a vision of all applications becoming accessible on all devices at all times, through virtualization of storage, applications and processing.” To hear all of the Chambers keynote, go to the News@Cisco Webcast.
InfoWorld on NotesTom Sullivan, Home Page Editor at InfoWorld.com, weighed in with a quick assessment of just-launched News@Cisco Notes on the InfoWorld Daily blog:”œFormer InfoWorld associate editor Jack McCarthy kickstarted a new blog at News@Cisco. A vendor blog, true, but “it’s going to be part of the blogosphere conversation with links outside Cisco,” McCarthy told me very early this morning. I don’t doubt his ability to pull that off, either, since he was the editor behind our Tech Watch group news blog.”One thing is for sure. We do want this space to be part of the networking conversation, so when the spirit moves, feel free to add comments below.
Video WizardsTake just one look at the video pinball that is mtvU, MTV’s around-the-clock student network, and you understand why new media is getting so much attention from those trying to discern the future of broadband content and its delivery. Experience the multiple feeds, flashing colors, music videos and messages, and you know you’re in another world.So it’s no surprise that Cisco Systems is partnering with mtvU to fund “Digital Incubators,” ten student groups with $250,000 to help showcase their digital video projects on mtvU’s networks. These projects combine elements of short-form programming, gaming, social networking, blogging, instant and text messaging, podcasting and mobile phone-based interactivity. “The media business is in a disruptive era and consumers are being empowered to create and share their own content,” Dan Scheinman, senior VP of corporate development for Cisco, told CNET.”It’s important for (Cisco) to see where the trends are going so we can build capabilities into our products to enable it.” My favorite trailer from the incubator so far is “œHow Do I Say This?” billed as”an interactive peer-to-peer advise column and online community video project” from students at UCLA. Heard it on the Radio In his White House Radio Address April 22, President George Bush mentioned his visit to Cisco and cited the company’s Networking Academy Program.”I had the chance to visit Cisco Systems, a company that understands the importance of preparing the next generation for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow,” Bush said.”Through its Networking Academy Program, Cisco is helping to train high school students in math, science, and information technology skills. By ensuring that we have a skilled workforce for the future, companies like Cisco are helping America compete with confidence, and keeping our economy growing, and creating new jobs for our citizens.” To listen to Bush’s remarks during his visit to the company, check out the News@Cisco podcast.CRM for SMBsCisco is collaborating with Microsoft to integrate Microsoft’s Dynamic CRM 3.0 application with Cisco’s Unified Communications technology. The just-announced Cisco Unified CRM Connector 3.0 includes an IP phone service that pushes customer information to Cisco Unified IP phones from inbound calls. The solution will help SMBs who want CRM applications but don’t have the time or money to get too involved, Yankee Group analyst Helen Chan told InfoWorld. “To get this to work before, it required someone to sit down and write a custom application, and all that technology is proprietary,” Chan said. As a result, for updates or additions to the system, “you’re always going back to that same partner,” she said. Cisco also introduced its FastStart program for Cisco and Microsoft partners, providing resources to help them sell Cisco Unified Communications and Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions.
Setting an Agenda for ChangePresident George Bush’s visit to Cisco Systems focused the country’s attention on the need to reinvigorate programs for math, science and R&D to maintain America’s lead in technology competitiveness. Bush joined his strong ally in the project, John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco, who worked with the president earlier this year to promote increased funding for such initiatives, both in the federal government and in the private sector. Chambers followed up on the panel with an article in the San Jose Mercury News.”Our competitiveness in innovation, job creation and university education is strong, but the question remains: Will we keep it strong? And will it get our leadership in K-12 education back?” Chambers wrote.”Change is hard for all of us, but not to change will be doing a disservice to our children and future generations of Americans.”Linksys Wireless Products Build on Next-Gen SpecificationCisco Systems Division Linksys, unveiled a Wireless-N Broadband Router (WRT300N) and Wireless-N Notebook Adapter (WPC300N), the first in a line of Wireless-N products available from Linksys that will be built to the 802.11n Draft Specification.With up to four times the range and up to 12 times the throughput of Wireless-G*, the WRT300N and WPC300N deliver to the home and to businesses wireless networks with the capacity to surf the Web, enjoy multiple streams of high definition video, listen to digital music collections and make Internet phone calls -- all at the same time. “With these products based on the IEEE 802.11n draft specification, Linksys is enabling users to transform their home networks into media distribution platforms and access premium content around the home over a wireless network,” said Mike Wolf, principal analyst, ABI Research.”Jefferson Parish Comes Back Dr. Diane Roussel, superintendent of Jefferson Parish Schools in Louisiana, works out of a warehouse. In her parish, Hurricane Katrina destroyed four schools 50 percent or more and 26 were damaged significantly. But the parish is getting back on its feet, re-opening nearly all of its 84 schools.Cisco Systems and others, through the Cisco 21st Century Schools (“21S”) program, are helping Jefferson Parish go beyond simply restoring its schools to their previous state. The 21S program is a $40 million multi-phase, long-term effort to help with redesign and restoration activities in the Gulf Coast region post-Katrina. Cisco recently announced the second phase of 21S, in which the company is specifically committing $20 million for the Louisiana Education Initiative (LEI). In the first year of the LEI, $10 million will be invested in baseline technologies and pilot strategic initiatives for eight schools in Jefferson Parish, touching 5,200 students.