At a press conference at CES today, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers talked about the router maker’s push beyond routers and into the home. As Om has said before, this is a well-worn path trod by Cisco in its need to continue its growth, but it’s pretty hard to make it as successful consumer electronics company, even if those products are connecting back to the Internet where Cisco rules.
So today, Cisco tore the veil off two consumer products: a router that also provides music, akin to a Sonos player, and a media hub that will aggregate all your digital content and display it on whatever screen you choose — in the home or on the go through a browser. For the content companies, Cisco will offer its EOS software platform, which gives Big Media a way to create social web sites around their artists –kind of like a Ning for music or other publishers.
I’m surprised we didn’t hear more about Cisco’s video efforts. There was little beyond a new additon to its Visual Networking Index, which showed that U.S. newteevee viewers spend 2.5 times more time watching professional content than user-generated content. I suppose that most of the video news won’t come out at a consumer oriented show given that it’s geared more toward businesses and service providers. I will say that, no matter who ends up controlling the home network — whether it’s consumers buying their own gear and storing their own content, or a world in which service providers give access to content on set-top boxes — Cisco will have a product for them.