ConradBy Conrad Clemson, VP of strategy, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group 

Well, we’re nothing if not patient. For those of us who’ve been active in cable VOD (video on demand) since it began, 12+ years ago, it’s totally great to finally see glimmers of acknowledgement for the category. It’s like knowing your kid is truly gifted at something, but not seeing validation of it until a dozen years after it seemed “time.”

I’m talking about this item, from the May 20 edition of the New York Times. Titled “Viewers Start to Embrace Television on Demand,” it plucks out all kinds of killer data points — like the fact that VOD views of ABC shows are up 32% (without fast-forward) over the last year. Cisco’s own VNI forecast issued 5/29 shows that VOD will be the fastest growing and highest penetrated residential TV service globally, with 402 million subscribers, reaching 29% of digital TV households globally by 2017.

Of course what started as movies on demand has changed over the years. It’s now more like “personalized TV” and at this week’s Cable Show, you’ll see ample evidence of just how far it can go. Now called, variously, “cloud TV” or “network or cloud DVR,” It’s a subject that’s near and dear to us. Little known fact: Cisco UCS and Nexus switches are the foundations for many large cloud providers. We know VOD, and we know cloud.

On the Cable Show floor (booth 1819), we’re showing what it takes to deploy cloud-based video. Why do it? “Cloud television” is happening because service providers need a consistent way to service the growing landscape of IP-connected, video-capable devices in their collective service footprint.

We call our cloud “Videoscape Multiscreen Cloud DVR.” Three things are important about it:

  • It’s modular, which is good for components that grow at different rates ¾a lesson we learned in the VOD chapters of yore
  • It’s open. FOR-REAL open. (We’re a major proponent of OpenStack)
  • It’s built with a software mentality, which matters in the pursuit of a “culture of continuous” and service agility.

We are highlighting how we’re using cloud technology to power Videoscape Cloud DVR. Elastic ingest and scale-out streaming are just two examples. If you come to see us, you’ll see how cloud-based video helps service providers quickly and continuously do two big things: Deploy new services, on the viewer-facing side, and 2), on the back office side, flexibly establish workflows, storage efficiencies, and advanced advertising.

And these things matter. Because job 1 for the next few years is for us in Cable to take market leadership back from the Internet guys who have shown us a clean pair of heals this past few years.

So it’s definitely cloudy inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this week – but in a good way. For us “lifers” in VOD, who’ve been watching and building the progression to cloud-delivered TV for a really long time now, that’s a very, very good thing.


David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco