Cisco is aiming to enable a new architecture tailored to making video content available across any network or device, with the launch of the Videoscape platform. And not just video: the launch aims at nothing less than a total, immersive video-enabled communications, entertainment and lifestyle experience.
CEO John Chambers unveiled the initiative on Wednesday at a press conference at CES 2011, and while the TV Everywhere message isn't new, he managed to identify the core issues at play in making the concept a reality in today's television market: interoperability; business modeling; and quality of experience. He also identified key partnerships with service providers as being the linchpin to deploying video everywhere.
Videoscape, a suite of five product families, brings together digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications in the cloud. The focus for service providers, Chambers noted, is on creating services that combine mobility, video networking and media in the home, while transforming the experience in general for the end user into much more of a personalized one.
That's challenging, considering that Cisco sees a world in the not-too-distant future where there will be 50 billion devices connected to networks doing video—and video traffic will soon begin to grow at a 50-percent year-over-year growth rate. For the service provider, that impacts what happens in the cloud, what happens in the data centers, storage and switching needs and more.
“Video is about how you have an infinite source of content, and you need to be able to use any device over any network to get to any content you’re authorized to get to…and it’s got to be more visual and intuitive [than it is today] as to how this occurs, and more social and more effective,” he noted.
This ideal world of video is only enabled by leveraging the architecture of the Internet, Chambers said, reminiscing about the early days of VoIP. “Video will be the next voice,” he said, noting the growing pains that occurred in terms of service quality and reliability when that now-mainstream service first hit the scene. Getting anytime, anywhere access to video will take a similar trajectory, he predicted. Getting it right is “more of an art than it is a science. But it’s inevitable how fast this market is going to move.”
To bring a little more science to the art, the enablement of the vision is primarily an architectural issue, he said: “The network should be seen as the platform. It’s not about the devices, it’s about underlying intelligence in the network and an underlying architecture."
Cisco Videoscape is an open platform that utilises the cloud, the network, and client devices to deliver a new television experience, the company said. A Videoscape media gateway for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi and network traffic routing will sit within the home. There’s also a Videoscape IP set-top box, engineered to support all video forms delivered to a TV, including pay TV, broadcast channels, premium channels, VoD and the Web. Videoscape software clients will then extend the Videoscape experience to a wide variety of home and mobile devices, from connected TVs to tablets, smartphones and more.
The Videoscape Media Suite meanwhile sits in the cloud, which offers full life-cycle content management so that service providers can manage and publish content across multiple screens.
The Cisco Conductor for Videoscape is a network product, which orchestrates various services and subscriber-management functions across the cloud, the network and client devices.
These five new product families are part of Cisco's medianet architecture, and work in conjunction with its existing portfolio of network products.
Chambers also revelaed that Australia’s Telstra is a first customer for Videoscape.