Cisco Systems, which builds the gear that powers the Internet, is making a big push this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with new products that will help consumers move digital media around their homes.
The company plans to hold a press conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday to reveal the new products and its refined strategy for providing consumers with "communication and entertainment experiences that are more visual, more social and more personal," the company said in a press release.
To get a sneak peek at Cisco's strategy, I talked by phone with Ned Hooper, senior vice president of corporate development for Cisco's Consumer Business Group. While details of the soon-to-be-announced products are still under wraps, Hooper shed some light on why Cisco thinks there is a big opportunity in helping consumers get their homes connected and where the company plans to go with its strategy from next.
Q: Cisco isn't the first company to build products for the digital home. Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard have all tried to develop products to help consumers play their music and video throughout the home. So far, none of these companies have been very successful. Even Apple's Apple TV is a considered a niche product. Why do you think Cisco will have more success? Hooper: I think it's important to look at how media and entertainment is being delivered to the home. The presence of the Internet and digital media is transforming all these industries and how people access entertainment and how they communicate with each other.
Over 100 million households have set top boxes with their cable or digital satellite service. So the digital set top box market is doing well. Services such as video on demand and DVRs are in high demand. But building expensive devices for a single function hasn't proven to be a viable market.
Cisco has been positioned very well in terms of being able to offer infrastructure for these network services. And we're already in the consumer electronics business with Linksys and Scientific Atlanta. It might surprise you to know that Cisco has shipped over 160 million consumer devices. This includes set-top boxes and home routers.… Read more