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Cisco Adds Video Sharing, Searching To TelePresence

Cisco customers now can archive video sessions, replay them on demand, and search them by keywords.

Cisco Umi
Slideshow: Cisco Umi Takes Telepresence To The Home
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Cisco set the gold standard for video conferencing with its TelePresence HD video room systems. Beginning Thursday, it is building on that success with new features to, as Cisco puts it, "capture, transform, and share" video for collaboration, training, advertising, and customer service for enterprises.

Calling its TelePresence--and WebEx--technology "video communication," Cisco is complementing that with a "video content" capability that archives previous video sessions, replays them on demand, and makes them searchable with technology the company calls "video analytics."

"We plan to leverage the capture technologies that we require for video content, use the same end points that companies already have, [and] simplify deployment and enhance the user experience," said Guido Jouret, CTO of enterprise video at Cisco, during a demonstration of the new technologies Monday, via TelePresence, with participants in San Francisco, Houston, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, among other locations.

Users can share previous video via Cisco's existing Show and Share video portal, whether they're TelePresence sessions, WebEx meetings, or an executive's convention keynote. Cisco replayed a keynote that CEO John Chambers delivered at Cisco Live 2011 in July. Using Cisco's Pulse Video Analytics, a feature of its Media Experience Engine (MXE) 3500 appliance, they chose to search the term "market share." The video jumped to the point where the term came up and, even though the words weren't on the screen, they were on the audio track.

[ Videoconferencing is showing up in new places. Learn more by reading Next Killer Tablet App: Multisite Videoconferencing ]

"We think people want to move beyond meetings ... but the reality is that you can't go to more meetings. You have to find a way to scale," said Jouret.

Cisco also said the Show and Share portal will be available as an app on Apple iPhones and iPads by late October.

TelePresence and WebEx are popular video platforms at Lone Star College System, a community college in Texas that serves more than 100,000 students at 16 campuses across 1,400 square miles. Lone Star makes wide use of WebEx, both for faculty meetings and for instruction so teachers don't have to drive to different campuses to teach their classes, said Link Alander, associate vice chancellor of technology services for Lone Star, who referred to students as members of the "You Tube generation" who are comfortable using video.

"Today's generation, the generation that we're training and teaching in the work force, is the generation that's driving us," Alander said.

Cisco technology is also widely used by Banco de Cordoba, a 242-branch consumer bank in Buenos Aries whose network and other technology delivers video, IP telephony, video training, surveillance, and advertising content, said Federico Palleiro, director of new projects for the bank.

Banco de Cordoba uses its video network for executives making an announcement to the entire work force and may later adopt technology so a mortgage specialist at one branch can talk to a mortgage customer at another branch. It also uses the video monitors in branches to display advertising to customers, Palleiro said.

"Once you have it in place, it's a very low cost solution for customers. It makes sure that they are looking at content you want them to see," he said.

The video conferencing market has been active lately with a number of companies offering video conferencing integrated with unified communications platforms such as Microsoft Lync. They include Polycom, Logitech, Zultys, and others. But those offerings are a "fragmented" approach compared to Cisco's, said Didier Moretti, vice president and general manager of the media experience and analytics business unit at Cisco.

"What customers are looking for is for a solution which has a seamless work flow and that can add value dramatically," said Moretti. "It's one thing to capture easily, it's another to make it easy to consume. Ease of consumption and the ability to find relevant valuable content is really key."

To be sure, streaming so much video consumes a lot of expensive bandwidth, but Moretti pointed out how customers such as Banco de Cordoba can time-shift some workloads to off-hours such as sending advertising and training videos over the network to branches overnight. Bank executive Palleiro interjected that while the network is used during business hours to process transactions, it can also be switched on the fly to handle, say, security-related traffic as needed.

"If someone gets into one of our branches with a gun, in that case the transactions are no longer critical," Palleiro said.

Get lessons from five companies on the front lines of implementing unified communications. Also in the new, all-digital supplement of Network Computing:Mike Fratto on how to make the case for UC. Download the supplement now. (Free registration required.)

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