By Roger Sherwood, Business Development Manager, Service Provider, Cisco
Last year, as you may or may not recall, we came to NAB with a certification program for independent software vendors (ISVs) focused on media-centric applications. The idea was to make it possible to pair their apps with the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) and/or our 9000 and 3000 series switches — both to showcase their work, and to make the outcome available to our respective (and, more often than that, shared) customers.
Developing and growing something the ISV Program for Media isn’t for the faint of heart, I want to point out very specifically! The vendor ecosystem supporting the broadcast video marketplace is both gigantic, and hotly competitive.
We invited companies like Adobe Systems, Elemental Technologies, Grass Valley, Harmonic Inc., Imagine Communications, Interra Systems, Signaint and Snell Advanced Media into our fold.
We are also working to introduce these vendors to the Global Partner Organization at Cisco to help this program grow to scale and accelerate the vertical media market. This is just the start! The possibilities together are vast.
Our point in doing this was, and is, this: The right thing to do as suppliers, always and forevermore, is to do work and develop products that make life better for our customers. Products that are more reliable, more extensible, faster to market, less expensive — all of that.
Plus, with the global shift to open source techniques and IP, collaboration is faster and easier than ever before — even if it’s with somebody who competes with you, somewhere along the food chain.
Put another way, when you (individually) visit your (shared) customer base, and you hear for the hundredth time that they wish you’d work with this guy, or that guy, on this or that integration, here’s what you do: You take a deep breath and make it so. That’s what our ISV Program for Media is all about.
So much has happened since we launched the program last year, and all of it for the good: Here’s a sampling:
Deeper Relationships: Grass Valley, Imagine and EVS saw the value so much, they signed MOUs that deepen our strategic alliances — meaning we’re jointly building solutions, services and go-to-market plans. (This is pretty huge, as vendor relations go!)
Inclusive Industry Dialog: Imagine Communications invited two of our guys to participate in their “Imagine Live! Power Sessions,” which is super cool. (Details: On Tuesday, April 19 from 10-10:30, our Bryan Bedford will speak on a panel about “Open Standards That Drive Innovation — the AIMS Alliance.” Then, from 2-2:30 p.m. Dave Ward, our Chief Architect and CTO, Engineering and Service Provider business, keynotes a discussion titled “Video’s Five-Year View and What to Do About It Now.” (Thanks, Imagine peeps!) Plus! You can check out our combined demos at both of our booths.
Joint Work That’s Fun: EVS let us in on two super-fun projects since our ISV beginnings — first, its “EVS Live on Tour demo truck,” which officially launches on Monday the 18th — before heading out to the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, U.S. Open, and tons of NBA, MLB and NFL games. As if that wasn’t fun enough (!), we had the good fortune to participate in their “C-Cast APPlied Challenge,” which awarded four developers of cool new media experiences. Work is work, but when it’s fun, it’s even better.
Bigger, Better, Wider “Co-opetition” Relationships: Little known NAB 2016 fact: There’s a fiber link between our and Sony’s booth, and we’ll be switching video back and forth between us, to showcase a few things — an SDI to IP gateway, and a GUI instead of a router panel (to switch sources.) Nifty!
And that’s a partial list. The point is this: The ISV Program for Media momentum is happening because it was necessary for our customers, who always come first. We’re proving, every day, and highlighting at NAB, how we can work together with the video/media supplier ecosystem to build solutions that our customers want and need.
This program is a great thing for customers, and for suppliers. Plus, as a technologist, I can say with gusto that the best thing about it is being able to focus on the technical work, with like-minded colleagues (who happen to be competitors) — without the pointy elbows or the politics.
I’ll close with two calls to action: One, if you’re in the supplier community at NAB, and want to know more, the door is open! Two, if you’re our customer, and want to “put your order in” for cross-vendor integrations that you need — we’d love to help get you there. Come visit us this week at the Cisco booth, Upper South Hall, #8502.