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Video’s Campus Communications Fabric: Best Supporting Actor?

April 17, 2008 - 0 Comments

“If you build a fast engine- [y]ou first of all need a script that’s written in the express lane, and if it’s not, there’s nothing you can do in the editing room to make it move faster. You need room for character, you need room for relationships, for personal conflict, you need room for comedy, but that all has to happen on a moving sidewalk.”

-Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullWherever you turn in our industry these days, people are talking about the speed of business and globalization, about mash-ups and ecosystems. And whenever people talk about business communications to support this evolution, they are discussing the role and importance of video. As we showed at the VoiceCon EcoPanel with Al Gore, John Chambers and Sue Bostrom in three different cities, the compelling experience high quality video communications offers not only changes how people interact, it changes business processes themselves, allowing for integration across companies, across cultures, and across continents real time or in the moment. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the Net Present Value (NPV) of video?Over the past year, Cisco’s own (as well as our customers’) use of video technologies -from the personal VT Advantage on people’s desktops to the video capabilities of Webex to the commanding experience of Telepresence -has saved ten of millions of dollars in travel costs, while making communications even more effective. It has brought intimacy to communications, making the latter personal again. And mostly, Video, the application, received the public attention, effectively sweeping the product Oscars and much of the debate/discussion in the blogs and tabloids of our industry.Thinking about video, a movie metaphor comes to mind. If Telepresence is the leading star in our Video studio, it only seems fair for me to identify the leading supporting actor in this blockbuster machine, the network itself. In fact, today I would like to nominate the Campus Communications Fabric for the award,”key enabler of rich video communications.” While movie fans tend to love the leading actresses and actors, some of us think the supporting cast can steal the show. Traditionally, enterprise saw video communications, particularly video conferencing, as a point-to-point application requiring”nailed-up” connections. While useful, this form of video communication was both difficult to manage and use and provided limited capabilities in terms of experience and utilization. To wit, most video conferencing systems are used approximately 1% of the time (versus Telepresence systems, which are in use on our campuses around the world more than 50% of the time). As Telepresence, video-rich web conferencing, personal video communications and video-on-demand (VODs) or video blogs (VLOGS), as well as video surveillance systems become more ubiquitous, the campus network needs to evolve to support dynamic, anytime usage. So let me take you behind the scenes to quickly see what the network has to do to support video.Increased reliance on campus network to support video requires three types of capabilities: – Network Performance: The network needs to be optimized for service delivery, to include monitoring and management of traffic;- Confidentiality: As business video takes off, security becomes a more significant driver, including path isolation for confidential traffic, prevention of unauthorized access and application-aware threat protection;- Scale: The network needs to support increasing loads on its bandwidth, including in-service upgrades and engines vs. rip and replace. Moreover, as 802.11n technologies take hold on campus, they too must be optimized for video distribution.As video usage becomes as commonplace as telephony as a Unified Communications application to every individual at the office, the fabric and performance of the network must respond to the video version of Metcalf’s law. So let’s give some well-deserved accolades to the intelligent, service-rich network for video possible. Much like the video application and campus network, it takes both Steven Spielberg’s directing and George Lucas’ production to make a blockbuster. Post by Alan S. Cohen, Vice President, Enterprise & Mid-Market Solutions

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