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Cisco’s OpenH264 Now Part of Firefox

Voice and video communications over IP have become ubiquitous over the last decade, pervasive across desktop apps, mobile apps, IP phones, video conferencing endpoints, and more.  One big barrier remains: users can’t collaborate directly from their web browser without downloading cumbersome plugins for different applications.  WebRTC – a set of extensions to HTML5 – can change that and enable collaboration from any browser. However, one of the major stumbling blocks in adoption of this technology is a common codec for real-time video.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have been working jointly to standardize on the right video codec for WebRTC. Cisco and many others have been strong proponents of the H.264 industry standard codec. In support of this, almost a year ago Cisco announced that we would be open sourcing our H.264 codec and providing the source code, as well as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Perhaps most importantly, we announced that we would not pass on our MPEG-LA licensing costs for this binary module, making it effectively free for applications to download the module and communicate with the millions of other H.264 devices. At that time, Mozilla announced its plans to add H.264 support to Firefox using OpenH264.

Since then, we’ve made enormous progress in delivering on that promise. We open sourced the code, set up a community and website to maintain it, delivered improvements and fixes, published the binary module, and have made it available to all. This code has attracted a community of developers that helped improve Read More »

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How much Video at Cisco?

We use a lot of video at Cisco. A recent tally shows that Cisco totals over 24,000 video calls every day, which raises a pretty big question: why do we use so much video at Cisco?  Read More »

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Reinventing Conferencing

What kind of a world will you live in three years from now? How about five? Will your personal robot pour you a drink after your self-driving car delivers you home? That’s where we’re headed, and it’s a pretty quick trip: self-driving cars are already on public roads and you’ll soon be able to buy that humanoid robot.

Cisco’s Collaboration team thinks a lot about the future—not just about how we’ll get around and get our drinks, but about how we’ll connect and collaborate. We’re passionate about the future of collaboration, about giving the world collaboration tools that are every bit as smart as those self-driving cars and whiskey-pouring robots.

Where we’re at: today’s challenges
Before we talk more about the future, let’s talk about where the industry is right now. Over the years, various vendors have given us audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing. Each of these technologies were introduced at different times, and have matured at different paces—with audio being the tried-and-true veteran, video conferencing the relative newcomer and web being the thing that came somewhere in-between.

Herein lies the problem: Read More »

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Video Collaboration Matters in the Millions

How can a global company make the most of its talent all over the world? How can teams of people collaborate productively no matter where they live and work? While email helps and phone calls help even more, video is critical.

Cisco IT supports our global teams with a successful integrated suite of video options. Cisco employees made nearly 6.5 million video calls this year. What are the most popular video solutions for calls or meetings, and how it has changed Cisco culture? Find out in my short video.

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Up, up and away! Cloud a Major Topic at IBC 2014

IBC 2014, the conference and exhibition hosted by the beautiful city of Amsterdam, in the generous confines of the RAI facility, came to a close last week. The exhibition, spread across 14 halls and spanning 5 days, attracted more than 55,000 attendees to see the latest offerings and technological advances of over 1500 exhibitors. It’s an exciting place to be… there is a tangible buzz generated from the proximity of so many industry experts and enthusiasts, from veteran business leaders to smart start-up engineers.

My overwhelming take-away from the event was of the continued pervasiveness of the cloud and the cloud services ecosystem. Media management in the cloud, transcoding in the cloud, metadata in the cloud, playout in the cloud, archive to the cloud, cloud DVR, cloud UI rendering, cloud collaborative editing and post-production… and more. The barrier to entry for service providers to launch new, cost-effective, value-add features has never been lower, leveraging the scalability, reliability and efficiency gains that cloud computing together with the SaaS model enables. The movement from hardware to software services is also a driving force behind a slower but inevitable transition, that is, the adoption of IP for the end-to-end video signal path from camera to cutting room to consumer.

At the Cisco Booth

cisco-advanced-advertising-tv-audience-analytics

I was privileged to be exhibiting on the main Cisco stand, demonstrating a product which I’ve helped develop. Videoscape TV Analytics is a cloud service which provides deep insights into the viewing population: both who they are and how they use your service.  We are able to predict Read More »

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