Is pervasive video ready for the enterprise?

Cisco aims to make video easy to capture, share and reuse with unified suite

Cisco is making a bet that if it can make video easy to capture, share and reuse, the medium can be a ubiquitous tool across an enterprise.

The company is announcing a rollout of its Pervasive Video suite of tools that it hopes will make the use of video in the enterprise a seamless effort across multiple devices and endpoints, including use in telepresence, digital signage, meetings and security. The application of video could be applied to advertising, events, conferences, health care or training.

There are a lot of vendors that agencies can use for video products. It can be a scattered world looking to fill all of an organization's needs when it comes to video. Cisco plans to bring all the video capabilities into one set of products that can be deployed across the enterprise.

“Other vendors and service providers can offer pieces of this but Cisco, because of the breadth of their offerings, they are able to create more of a unified approach,” said Ira Weinstein, an analyst and partner with Wainhouse Research. “So, there are a wide range of providers that offer desktop based video-capture solutions. There are vendors that will let you take that and stream it to digital signs. What Cisco is doing is allowing you to use these tools for multiple purposes.”

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Cisco is calling the suite Medianet. Specific products include its TelePresence Content Server 5.0, the evolution of the Show and Share software that helps create video and deploy it around the enterprise, digital signs for collaboration, an interface device called the TelePresence Touch, the CTS 1300-47 for small conferences and an IP desk phone with a 5-inch screen for face-to-face calls.

“There are definitely other [companies] that are eyeballing this but it definitely takes a certain breadth of offerings, breadth of install base before you actually hit the tipping point where it would make sense,” Weinstein said.

None of this is incredibly new technology. It is evolved, but not groundbreaking. Even the jewel of the collection, the Media Experience Engine (MXE 3500) is a new iteration of existing MXE products lines. The MXE 3500 does bring some interesting new capabilities though. It has voice recognition software that can enable it to separate different people in a video conference call and tag them with a particular color that shows up as a timeline bar in playback of the video.

“The ability for the video to auto-detect who is talking and color code it. Segments go to where the system has detected a speaker and clink on that blue icon and watch the section of the video of the person identified as the blue speaker,” said Guido Jouret, the chief technology officer and general manager of the enterprise video group at Cisco.

It can also allow for auto-tagging from speech recognition, finding the pertinent and most used business words to create meta-data of the video that enhances discoverability.

“What the 3500 is now able to do is add automatic tagging and speaker identification,” Jouret said. “We call this Pulse Analytics. Of course, without tags, video is opaque and you can't search video and people at the tags they think are relevant. With auto-tagging we are automatically analyzing the audio soundtrack and find the most business-relevant terms. Not the most commons terms which could be 'the' 'of' 'and' but we are trying to find the business relative terms and add them as tags.”

In various government activities Cisco points out that its video capabilities are being used for security purposes or to help enable citizen interaction. For instance, the ability for a citizen to video chat about a problem at a local park with a member of the Parks and Recreation staff. For training purposes, there are many possible uses for video in government agencies, straight from the desk of the Secretary to the new employee.

“Video inherently is valuable but it is more valuable when you make it easier to create, easier to use and easier to distribute,” Weinstein said. “It is that reach that makes video valuable. It is not just the fact that I have video, it is that it gets to the right people at the right time and doing that without having an entire army of technical experts to do it.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated Feb. 25 to correct the spelling of Guido Jouret's name.

About the Author

Dan Rowinski is a staff reporter covering communications technologies.


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