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Cisco dishes out digital-video gear for businesses

Company's emerging-markets group unveils a Web-based audio-video system designed for business use.

Cisco Systems unveiled on Tuesday a Web-based audio-video system for businesses, the second of three major initiatives coming out of the company's emerging-markets unit.

The Cisco Digital Media System includes hardware and software designed to broadcast audio and video--be it a marketing presentation, training video, classroom lecture or city council meeting--over the customer's Web-based network. The product also lets a customer deliver the content live or make it available for on-demand viewing, Cisco said.

Digital Media System components include hardware for encoding live and on-demand content, as well as tools for adding archive media, handling production tasks, scheduling content delivery and searching for content. The base price of the system is $133,000. It is expected to ship in the next two to four weeks.

Best known for selling the Ethernet routers and network switches that direct Internet traffic, Cisco has been focusing on other growth opportunities through its Emerging Markets group, whose in-house researchers developed the Digital Media System.

The group's first initiative was the result of an acquisition earlier this year, noted the group's vice president, Marthin De Beer.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco announced in March that it was paying $51 million for a small company called SyPixx Networks. SyPixx has developed software and hardware that lets analog video systems operate as part of a digital Internet Protocol network. The significance of that technology, Cisco said, is that digitized video can be instantly distributed, viewed and stored, enhancing its usefulness for surveillance and other applications.

The third initiative will be announced in the coming weeks, De Beer said.