Web 2.0, Entertainment and the Network

October 18, 2007 - 2 Comments

Most people today know the role the network plays in the distributing and connecting people to information and entertainment. But what’s Cisco’s role in the”networkification of stuff” happening in the Web 2.0 movement?That’s the question Dan Scheinman, SVP and GM of the Cisco Media Solutions Group, addressed today in his Higher Order Bits talk at the Web 2.0 Summit. (And in the process answering the #1 question we got in the hallways: “Cisco at Web 2.0?”)Think about it: the digitization of content and access to broadband is revolutionizing how people choose to be entertained. As a result of this technical revolution, the entertainment business is evolving. Yes, Cisco is already part of this revolution with its heritage in core networking, and by connecting many consumers to entertainment through either a Linksys home router or to their flat-screen TV through a Scientific Atlanta set-top box. But the network is more than a fire-hose of content. The network can ultimately provide a Web 2.0esque entertainment experience by bridging the gap between consumers and content owners.Think about it. The entertainment revolution to-date has been about adding capacity to our entertainment options -for example, in the US we’ve gone from a handful of broadcast TV channels, to 100s of channels on cable and satellite, social networks and your favorite shows online. At the same time, digitization of content has removed many limitations of when, where, and how we consume content. Yes, these trends have empowered us, but we are now facing an overwhelming amount of choice and content .This new reality has created the We/Me movement. People still want to have the social experience around entertainment (the”We”). They want to want to hang around the virtual water cooler watching videos with friends, discussing their favorites, and increasingly adding their own creations to content through comments, mashups, derivative works, etc. But the proliferation of choice has also led to people demanding a more personalized entertainment experience (the”Me”) to help them deal with the volume of content. The entertainment industry is struggling to deliver the We/Me experience, and still get paid for the valuable content they create.Right, so what’s Cisco’s and the network’s role in bridging the We/Me gap? Cisco is working on Eos, a software platform that serves as an entertainment operating system enabling consumers to have an interactive, personalized, community-based entertainment experience, WHILE simplifying the administrative experience for content owners in engaging audiences, and distributing and monetizing their content. To sum it up: today we have silos of entertainment content. As the silos disappear, the ability to deliver an interactive,”Web 2.0″ entertainment experience becomes very valuable to both consumers and content owners. Having both the distribution and connection (to both the set-top box and home network) becomes strategic in providing that next-generation experience. Stay tuned-

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  1. Interesting. I hope Cisco will be the first to include better APIs for integration into web applications. If so, I would be excited to build a companion application into amoebaOS.http://amoebaos.com/

  2. I think the thing to remember is that web 2.0 is in essence about the tipping point / long tail. The quantity of content is not a big concern provided everyone sticks within their niche. I don’t mind having 500 channels to choose from if two of them broadcast the content I’m actually interested in (the web 2.0 generation is good at ‘filtering’).Furthermore, web streaming and other technologies have removed the ‘showtime’ element from broadcasting. While I would need to ‘watch’ the Superbowl at a schdualed time on television, I get to choose at what point I watch an online stream and how many times I do so.I envision a future where the television screen is a search field. Users will be able to select which of their subscribed networks they would like to watch, and then the content will be organised like a directory (this is basically what we have already with Youtube). Once one major provider starts selling this, they will sell it onto broadcasters and this would become the new streaming content network.