According to Cisco, the Secret Word Is 'Video'
"Market adjacencies." That's the business-speak term for video that John Chambers loves in this YouTube interview posted late last week.. He is using that term to explain a strategy around the company's collection of offbeat, acquired products that range from set-top boxes to a handheld consumer video recorder.
In fact, he even tells the story of the first time he saw a Flip Video recorder, made by Pure Digital, the company that Cisco acquired in March to the bafflement of industry observers. The CEO od Pure Digital tried to give Chambers a video, Chambers refused the gift but offered to buy a device and then flipped out and bought the whole company instead. What caused him to go head-over-heels? The fact that Flip had a network plug. Oooh, baby. If you want to get your company bought by Cisco use "video" and "network" in the same sentence (or in some way shape or form) in the same device and it's a shoo-in.
I will give Chambers credit for at least trying something new with this Twitter-inspired interview and YouTube post. Seems as if a company that's all about video needs to post a few on the Web.
A better explanation of Cisco's love of video, albeit one that still makes you wonder, was posted in this article today by EETimes. It is apparently Cisco's goal to make it easer for consumers to move video around the home and onto the Web.
That doesn't really explain why Cisco would want to own and sell a video recorder device nor does it explain why, after having moved into the market, Cisco doesn't think the device needs to compete on features/price/performance (the cornerstone of the the consumer electronics market). For instance, if the device isn't also a phone, forget it. If the EETimes article is to be believed, Ken Wirt, vice president of consumer marketing at Cisco, is trying to spin the Cisco strategy into being about software, not devices. The real "market adjacency" is supposedly services (such as hosted cloud software) associated with moving video from a device, around the home to the Web. Or maybe that's the market adjacent to the consumer electronics device market. Its hard to keep up with the spin.
In any case, the Cisco consumer video empire is a pipe dream. Rumors circulated today that Apple might add a video projection system to its iPhone ... allowing iPhone users to show off the videos they film or collect by, say, projecting the video to a blank white wall.