Spottin' Tech Trends

LAS VEGAS -- Today is Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s day here at the Interop show.

The networking giant's CEO, John Chambers, gave the keynote this morning. He basically reiterated a lot of what I've heard from him in other recent keynotes: Collaboration is the future, the network is the platform, all that jazz.

He also, however, talked a lot about the need for tech companies to spot market trends way ahead of time if they want to stay in the lead. "Look for trends three, five, or seven years out," he suggested. Naturally, he says Cisco has kept its lead by maintaining this principle, sometimes buying a top startup in a tech trend area it believes will become big.

This makesCisco's deal to acquire video surveillance software company BoardWare interesting. The firm, being bought for an undisclosed sum, makes software that allows companies to process the massive amounts of data captured on security cameras and sync them with other systems.

"Your security cameras are part of your regular camera network," Chambers said, after calling video the real killer app for driving network growth.

If we apply the tech trends principle here, it becomes obvious that this software could be useful to Cisco – and its customers – across a number of applications, such as the video setups that some people are hanging off of municipal WiFi networks. Applications like that could help to strengthen Cisco's position in this young market.

Since the software is IP-based, there's no reason why it couldn't be applied to video capture from handheld devices or cameras on WiMax networks – if my sources are right, that is, and Cisco does get into WiMax.

If you look a little further out of the tech bubble, what Cisco is really betting on with this buy is that all-pervasive video surveillance is a growth market and folks will need better ways to collate vast amounts of data. I wouldn't bet on them being wrong. Would you?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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