Cisco's Chambers Sees Video-Centric Web

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Las Vegas - Cisco CEO John Chambers International CES talk Wednesday was light on new products but long on vision as he predicted 90 percent of all Web traffic in the near future will be video-based, and that his company is preparing to make these video experiences as consumer friendly as possible.

Chambers said video is the killer app for the Web and particularly for the tens of millions of video-enabled portable devices being sold around the world. This is one of the reasons Cisco bought Flip camera maker Pure Digital.

"Video changes everything," he said, adding that while the amount of video being uploaded to the Web is expanding astronomically, the important fact is it is high quality video due to the proliferation of consumer-friendly HD cameras.

Chambers said it is important for a company to properly time when it dives full force into an emerging category like video.

"The video experience was not really ready for the big time until now," he said, adding that many households have broadband and 50 percent have an HDTV, so they are capable of properly utilizing video.

In addition to consumers uploading personal video, Chambers said Cisco will roll out a trial consumer version of its TelePresence videoconferencing product this spring through a partnership with Verizon.

Telepresence is a huge opportunity in the future. A fresh market for hardware sales and service revenue is an enticement for all of tech. Cisco has a package of products and relationships that will let them be a leader but there will clealry be competition from TV companies and companies like Skype as well, said Steve Baker The NPD Group's VP of industry analysis.

Chambers believes using TelePresence to bring true video communications into the home medical will open up a huge market for third-party applications, such as obtaining medical advice and shopping.

Chambers also mentioned that Cisco was providing the back-end support for NBC, which is showing the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. This will include giving Flip cameras to athletes and commentators so they can create and upload content on the event.


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