Video services

Cisco Gets Visual

9:15 AM -- New buzzword alert: "Visual Networking."

Can't recall if I've heard Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) say that before, but it's what they're calling it now.

CEO John Chambers carefully spelled it out during yesterday's earnings call. The idea is that Web 2.0 is more than just a data service -- it includes voice and, eventually, video. "We would call this combination... 'visual networking,' " he said.

Maybe too many others are jumping on the Web 2.0 and "collaboration" bandwagons -- note the cluster of collaboration startups dotting Web 2.0 Expo.

Visual networking is part of Cisco's plan to get one step ahead of the "next wave of the Internet," a phrase Chambers has said so much it haunts my dreams in a West Virginian accent.

For Chambers, that's more than just talk. Cisco needs ways to remain stable in case this downturn deepens into a chasm, and urgent changes in network usage would fit the bill. For now, Chambers talks big about how even a prolonged downturn wouldn't hurt Cisco's long-term growth prediction of 12 to 17 percent, but that's easy to say when there's only been one quarter of trouble.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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