Cisco Hires the Doobies
Tonight, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is hosting a Doobie Brothers concert that doubles as a telepresence demo. They'll apparently be playing at Cisco, in San Jose, with the show being beamed to other locations via telepresence. (For telepresence-challenged sites, Cisco is also broadcasting it on Ustream.)
Here's a promo photo. These guys weren't from the 70s or anything, were they?
The band still has a following. A Cisco blog entry by Doug Webster notes that a few thousand employees put in requests for the available studio audience seats.
But man, if you want to pick a nostalgia act -- I'm not joking about Devo. Devo has a new album out, and it doesn't suck. (The Doobies, by contrast, have a new album.) Devo performed at last year's Cisco Live customer event. And Warner Bros. Records used tools from Cisco's Eos group to rebuild the Devo Website.
But Devo wouldn't fit the audience that telepresence needs to be marketed to. Even though Cisco wants to take telepresence mainstream, much of its high-end appeal is still best aimed at top executives. Those guys are more a Doobie Brothers crowd.
And I do think telepresence -- speaking of the technology, not just the Cisco product -- could remain a high-end tool. I think videoconferencing is going to head the way of phone conversations. Cellphones and speakerphones acclimated us to bad voice quality. Likewise, a middling Skype video call on an iPhone (once such a thing exists) is going to be the norm for person-to-person video, leaving full-screen telepresence as more of a tool for executives and large groups.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading