Video services

CES 2011: Cisco Wants Videoscape to Play Nice

LAS VEGAS -- 2011 International CES -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) insists its Videoscape platform is not intended to be an all-Cisco takeover of television delivery.

Rather, it's a framework that can be applied in pieces to flesh out an TV or IPTV deployment, officials tell Light Reading.

It's an interesting point, because Videoscape, as demonstrated by Cisco on Wednesday, has the potential to replace, say, an entire IPTV installation. The idea is to have the network provide the intelligence to deliver video with the right parameters for the device and subscriber receiving it. The plan certainly looked like a bid to turn video and Internet content delivery into an all-Cisco play. (See CES: Cisco Unveils Master Plan for Video and CES 2011: Sitting Down With Cisco's Videoscape.)

And it still could be, but Cisco is quick to douse that suggestion.

"This cannot be all Cisco," says Suraj Shetty, Cisco vice president of global service provider routing. "We'll be working with a lot of partners, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) being one big one. We're working with Google on Android." (Cisco isn't giving many specifics about either partnership.)

As an example, Videoscape could augment a Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV deployment by adding support for Flash or by delivering the content to devices beyond the TV or PC. "One thing Microsoft really excels at is delivering that content to Windows platforms. But when you think about an Android platform, or an Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) platform -- that's when we can extend their reach," says Murali Nemani, director of service provider video marketing.

Videoscape could also be used to extend content delivery networks (CDNs) to the home, Nemani says. That happens through the Videoscape media gateway; a service provider could download particularly popular shows or movies to the gateway ahead of time, anticipating a viewer's demands. This would fit with the usual CDN strategy of trying to cache popular content as close to the user as possible.

Videoscape does appear to require a Cisco presence at certain key points, however. Specifically, that media gateway seems to be a crucial element, because something on the user side has to talk to the network and to Cisco Conductor, the messaging and software suite that ties Videoscape to things such as OSS and billing systems.

Shetty and Nemani say Videoscape is in trials with two Tier 1 service providers in the United States. (Just for the sake of speculation, it's interesting to note that cable companies could conceivably use Videoscape to deliver video outside their territories.)

For now, the only announced Videoscape customer is Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), which is using the platform to deliver content straight to LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) television sets and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) DVD players without the aid of a set-top box.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

chumpchange charlie 12/5/2012 | 5:15:58 PM
re: CES 2011: Cisco Wants Videoscape to Play Nice

Love to know what else is under the hood.

The Cisco Controller was described in a way that makes me wonder if Sandvine is involved.

Anyone know?


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:15:57 PM
re: CES 2011: Cisco Wants Videoscape to Play Nice

I suppose it's possible. I have to admit, Sandvine didn't come to mind for me.

ycurrent 12/5/2012 | 5:15:54 PM
re: CES 2011: Cisco Wants Videoscape to Play Nice

Sure Videoscape can play nice with others... but how much $$ is there in extending existing video environments to justify Cisco's investment?  And how many service delivery platforms and back offices do operators really want to deploy/manage?  As more content delivery moves to IP, Cisco is gaming for the opportunity to optimize with fewer, newer platforms.  And Cisco is among the very few with the existing assets to extend - in the network, the data center, and the home.

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