Flip Camera Flops As Cisco Fires 550 Employees – Who Is Next?

Cisco has announced that it will be shutting the doors on its Flip Camera, once the darling of those who enjoyed recording those special moments. The Flip Camera took the nation by storm and sold two million units the first year it was released in 2007. Cisco bought the rights to the Flip in 2009 and thought the camera would be around for many moons. Unfortunately, the smart phone, with its own built-in camera and ability to record video, came out and sales of the Flip flopped.

But there is more to this story than just Cisco closing down one of its divisions and firing 550 employees. It is a signal on how just fast technology can change and how quickly consumers will bolt to the next best thing. The smart phone is the first device that has brought destruction to other devices in a quick and final death plunge. This is also a warning to others that the smart phone is going to get better and better and eventually may rule the roost and dethrone any in its path.

As new devices are introduced at a rapid pace, the time between industry cycles gets shorter and shorter. The Flip Camera lasted only four years before Cisco was forced to shutter the doors on the project. But smart phones have also put a dent in other technologies and devices besides just cameras.

Smart phones are starting to replace many of the traditional devices that man has been using for decades, even centuries. The smart phone is replacing the wrist watch since the phone can tell the user the time and be 100% accurate. The alarm clock and portable music players are also being replaced by the smart phone as are other devices like GPS units and cameras.

With Cisco raking in some $40B a year in revenue, closing the Flip Camera division — which was taking in $400M — may also be an attempt to shore up the company’s profit margin.

Comments welcome.

Source – NY Times

Would You Pay $600 For Home Video Conferencing Equipment Plus $24.99 A Month?

When I first heard about Cisco coming our with a unit for home use in which you could video conference from your TV, I was excited about the idea. With having kids and grand kids spread out across the U.S., plus family in California, it sounded like a great idea. But Cisco has announced the price which seems a little steep. The equipment will cost $600 plus you will need to pay a monthly fee of $24.95 a month to Verizon.

In a recent article it stated that:

“I think the difficulty is probably the monthly price. $300 a year forever, that’s a lot of money,” said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. “But this is a premium product. And I think it will set the imagination off with a lot of people.”

The home TelePresence system, called “umi,” features a camera and console that connects to a standard high-definition TV and works over high-speed Internet. Its biggest selling point is high quality, real-time video without the pixelations and interruptions of low- or no-cost online services. It also allows unlimited calls, video messaging and video storage.

Cisco already sells a high-end videoconference system for businesses. These systems, often built to simulate boardroom-like settings, can cost around $300,000 per unit. They feature high-quality video and sound, with limited delays, making users almost feel like they are meeting in person.

Despite initial skepticism over whether many businesses would pay so much, particularly in a weak global economy, TelePresence has become one of Cisco’s fastest-selling products as companies seek ways to save on travel costs. Its recent acquisition of Norway’s Tandberg also made it the world’s leader in videoconferencing systems.

While Cisco has not yet established itself as a consumer brand, it wouldn’t be its first foray into the living room. It has acquired home router maker Linksys, cable set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta, and more recently, the company that makes the Flip video camera.

I am sure this is going to be a high quality piece of equipment that is going to be the standard that others will be judged against. But having to pay $24.95 a month for life is a little step.I’ll be sticking with the freebies for now.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Reuters

Is Cisco Getting Ready To Announce An Affordable Home TelePresence Product?

Cisco the worlds leading networking giant may be getting to release a new home telepresence product as early as next week. Cisco has been eager to enter into the consumer market place and this step of offering a consumer version could be a major step forward. The biggest news is that the new device will be able to offer high definition video and family members will be able to visit relatives on their HDTV.

According to one report it also states that:

The cost for a small unit could be as low as $200, but that price would be heavily subsidized. Another source said a $500 price point was also possible with fewer hooks.

The big selling point: The high-definition quality is supposed to be very good. Cisco (CSCO) will use this selling point to contrast it to what will be its big competitor: Internet telephony and video-calling giant Skype.

If this rumor is in fact true, I believe that this could be great for those of us who have family and friends located around the country. It would be nice to visit from the comfort of your living room and to interact with those who are close to us. It would allow us grandparents to see our grand kids grow since they sprout up like weeds.

Comments welcome.

Source – BoomTown

Cisco Launches Search For Canada’s Thought-Leaders And Visionaries

There should be an image here!Cisco Canada is launching Transformational Canadians, a program that will recognize 25 notable Canadians. These individuals have, through their vision and leadership, helped to transform the lives of others in Canada and around the world. Nominations for the program will be open to the public and can be submitted online at twentyfive.ca and 25visionnaires.ca beginning today. Nominees must fall into one of the following 6 categories: business, science & technology, environment, education, healthcare and community.

Beginning October 5, 2010, a judging panel comprised of journalists and business leaders will select and profile up to three Transformational Canadians each week. Those chosen will be profiled at twentyfive.ca and 25visionnaires.ca, in print and online in The Globe and Mail, Cyberpresse and on CTV’s CANADA AM.

Once the 25 Transformational Canadians are chosen by the panel, CANADA AM will produce a series of 11 profiles starting Oct. 5th. During the week of January 3, 2011 the Globe and Mail will print a 4 page special feature highlighting the 25 Transformational Canadian honorees.

About Transformational Canadians:

  • The judging panel will convene throughout the nomination period to select the 25 Transformational Canadians. The panel judges include:
    • Elena Cherney, editor, The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business
    • Seamus O’Regan, co-host, CTV’s Canada AM
    • Pierre Duhamel, journalist
    • Christy Clark, host of CKNW’s Christy Clark Show
    • Ratna Omidvar, president, Maytree Foundation
    • Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada
  • Nominations can be submitted at twentyfive.ca or 25visionnaires.ca.
  • Close for nominations is November 26, 2010.
  • All nominees must be a living Canadian citizen residing in Canada or abroad. Nominations are made based on work or impact in Canada or internationally.
  • In recognition of the 25 Transformational Canadians’ efforts, Cisco will donate up to $25,000 worth of technology to the non-profit or charitable organization of the winner’s choice.
  • The technology will be donated in partnership with Allstream. As Canada’s all business communications solutions provider, Allstream has experience with innovation and is always looking ahead. Allstream will help to ensure the organizations receiving the gift of the technology on behalf of the 25 Transformational Canadians will be able to leverage it in the fashion that suits them the best.

“In 2010, Cisco celebrates 25 years of leading and shaping the way the world interacts, shares ideas and solves problems,” says Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada. “And while the network makes collaboration possible, it’s individuals who are transforming businesses, lives and communities. The 25 Transformational Canadians program will encourage a national dialogue to recognize leading Canadians who are making a real difference here at home and around the world.”

“We are honoured to help Cisco celebrate 25 years of innovation and commitment to the Canadian marketplace,” says John Stackhouse, Editor-in-Chief, The Globe and Mail. “Together, we begin our journey to identify the most notable milestones and achievements in Canada’s past and invite all of Canada to join the conversation and nominate the best of Canada.”

“These Canadians have helped shape our country,” says CTV’s Seamus O’Regan. “They have made a difference, contributing to our successes in business, science and technology, environment, healthcare, education and community work. I am delighted to be part of recognizing and rewarding the passion for change and the remarkable results that have changed Canada and, indeed, our world.”

“We’re asking all of Canada to stand up and share their thoughts on Canada’s true leaders who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Canada, the community and the future of our country,” says Pierre Duhamel, Cyberpresse. “We are proud to partner with Cisco to recognize Canadians and Quebecers who have left a legacy to Canada.”

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Isaac Roybal On Microsoft, Cisco, And The Unified Computing System

There should be an image here!In this RunAs Radio podcast, Richard and I talk to Isaac Roybal, late of Microsoft, now with Cisco, about the Unified Computing System.

The Unified Computing System (UCS) is Cisco’s hardware designed for virtualization, using blade-based hardware to create SAN-driven servers that can move seamlessly from machine-to-machine.

Isaac Roybal is a Product Manager in Microsoft’s Virtualization Marketing team. His responsibilities cover the Cloud Computing Infrastructure Initiative from a private cloud perspective, Dynamic Datacenter Toolkits for both hosters and enterprises and the Dynamic Datacenter Alliance. Isaac’s career started in Systems and Network Engineering working with Windows Server since NT 3.51. Prior to his current role, Isaac managed Microsoft’s Hyper-V and IIS product marketing efforts. He has been involved in IT for over 13 years (8 with Microsoft), received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University and has his MCSE certification in NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and 2003.

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Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today’s Profit And Drives Tomorrow’s Growth

There should be an image here!Over the past seven years, in a highly unstable global economy, Cisco doubled revenue, tripled profits, and quadrupled earnings per share. How? By Doing Both.

When companies face key strategic decisions, they often take one path and abandon the other. They focus on innovation and new business at the expense of core businesses or vice versa. They stress discipline and sacrifice flexibility. They focus on customers and ignore partners. And they struggle. Cisco believes there is a better way: Doing Both. Doing Both means approaching every decision as an opportunity to seize, not a sacrifice to endure. It means avoiding false choices, reduced expectations, and weak compromises. It means finding ways to make each option benefit and mutually reinforce the other. In this book, Cisco Senior Vice President Inder Sidhu explains why “doing both” is today’s best strategy. Then, drawing on Cisco’s hardwon insights and the experiences of companies like Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Harley-Davidson, Inder presents a complete blueprint for “doing both” in your organization, too.

Win by Doing Both!

  • Sustaining and Disruptive Innovation
  • Existing and New Business Models
  • Optimization and Reinvention
  • Satisfied Customers and Gratified Partners
  • Established and Emerging Countries
  • Doing Things Right and Doing What Matters
  • Superstar Performers and Winning Teams
  • Authoritative Leadership and Democratic Decision Making

Cisco To Help Channel Partners Evolve And Accelerate

As collaboration, virtualization, video, and cloud-based services transform the information technology industry, Cisco is helping its channel partners accelerate their growth and evolve.

Yesterday at its global partner conference, Cisco announced a series of initiatives designed to help the company’s global community of channel partners evolve their business models. The initiatives include a partner incentive program to encourage early engagement with Cisco, a collaborative partner-to-partner sales model to help partners respond to the globalization of business, and the evolution of Cisco specializations from individual technologies to architectures.

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Yahoo! Knew Beforehand Of Google Attack

It’s difficult to believe, but according to this it seems that Yahoo! did in fact know of the cyber attacks taking place on Gmail accounts in search of Chinese dissidents. What is troubling is Yahoo! not sharing its previous knowledge with Google ahead of time.

Perhaps even more bothersome is Yahoo! being aware of a security concern affecting both companies before Google knew about it! Seriously, I really figured Google would have been aware of all of this long before Yahoo! Perhaps Yahoo just has more experience in this field; it’s difficult to say for sure.

Definitely puts things into perspective back here in the free world, that’s for sure. Especially since other big names like Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco are all keeping to themselves on this matter rather than speaking out against China’s unbelievable actions. Guess it’s about protecting that bottom line, at all costs.

I am glad to see Google taking note of this and not letting China get away with it. Even better is seeing Google FINALLY standing up and refusing to censor results anymore for the Chinese authorities. Nice to see “don’t be evil” is back in the order of business after its long holiday. As for the other companies willing to tolerate this kind of thing, I guess we will have to wait and see how long it takes Yahoo!, among others, to join Google.

[awsbullet:google hack]

Wi-Fi Direct Is Coming Our Way – Less Hassle!

What is being touted as a simpler way to connect gadgets is about to come our way. Called Wi-Fi Direct, the new technology is being supported by Intel, Cisco, and Apple. The process is said to make setting up a Wi-Fi network for home owners, which can be a hassle,  a lot easier. But it gets better. It is said that current Wi-Fi users will be able to take advantage of this new technology by a simple software upgrade.

A recent article also states:

The new technology, called Wi-Fi Direct, will be built directly into consumer electronics and automatically scan the vicinity for existing hotspots and the gamut of Wi-Fi equipped devices, including phones, computers, TVs, and gaming consoles. Owners of most existing Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be able to upgrade to Wi-Fi Direct with a simple software download.

While the revamp may make life easier for consumers and business owners, it may erode sales of other Wi-Fi compatible equipment. For starters, Wi-Fi Direct may curb demand for routers and other products that make up the $1 billion annual market for Wi-Fi access points, now present in about 30% of U.S. homes. “The IT department doesn’t have to set up an access point,” says Victoria Fodale, a senior analyst at In-Stat. “Same thing in the home. You can do the same thing with less equipment.” Cisco and Netgear (NTGR) are among the biggest sellers of Wi-Fi equipment.

The feature also could disrupt usage of wireless Bluetooth technology that, for example, helps users of the Apple iPhone play games with each other outside a wireless network. In the future, some consumers may use Wi-Fi Direct instead. Though Wi-Fi connectivity tends to drain battery life faster than Bluetooth, it’s also faster and allows for transfer of richer multimedia content like video.

Members of the Wi-Fi Alliance plan to promote their new technology with a major marketing blitz. Intel has already begun briefing retailers, who will promote the feature in their stores, says Gary Martz, senior product manager at Intel. The chipmaker will also heavily promote the capability in the first quarter of 2010 as it unveils its next-generation Wi-Fi chip package for computers.

Chipmaker Marvell (MRVL), meantime, is planning to collaborate with its consumer-electronics partners to mark enabled devices with special stickers and to promote the capability through ads. “We will make a big splash with Wi-Fi Direct,” says Bart Giordano, product marketing manager at Marvell.

If and when this does happen, it will hopefully make things easier for consumers to hook up devices whether at home or at work. But like with any new technology, I bet the new hardware will come with a premium price when first introduced.

Sounds good to me, but what about you?

Comments welcome.


Cisco Routers For The Desperate: Router And Switch Management, the Easy Way

There should be an image here!Cisco routers and switches are the cornerstones of many networks. But when things break, repairs can intimidate even the most competent administrator. Luckily, just knowing the “in case of emergency” basics will take you far.

Just like the original, this second edition of the highly acclaimed Cisco Routers for the Desperate is written for the administrator in crisis mode. Updated to cover switches and the latest Cisco terminology, with a tighter focus on the needs of the small network administrator, this second edition gives you what you need to know to provide reliable network services and fix problems fast. You’ll find coverage of:

  • Installation — how to get your router and network connections up and running right the first time
  • Troubleshooting routers and switches, so that you can determine whether your hardware or the Internet is broken
  • Security concerns, like how to keep your network equipment safe from hackers and install a private network between two offices
  • How to implement basic network redundancy to reduce the risk of network downtime

Cisco Routers for the Desperate, 2nd Edition is designed to be read once and left alone until something breaks. When it does, you’ll have everything you need to know in one easy-to-follow guidebook.

Cisco Names Winners Of ‘Think Inside The Box’ Developer Contest

Today Cisco announced the winners of its “Think Inside the Box” Developer Contest. Launched last fall, the competition challenged application developers around the world to develop applications that run on the Cisco Application Extension Platform (AXP), which resides on the popular Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR).

Cisco launched this contest to encourage collaborative development through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, promoting what Cisco calls the Human Network Effect. The winning teams were determined by a panel of seven industry experts who selected the following applications as the most innovative, implementable and relevant to businesses. More than 100 qualified teams from 75 countries entered the competition. The finalists demonstrated the business relevance of the AXP in solving real-world problems, in areas of unified communications, security, advertising, cloud architectures, and energy.

The Winners:

The panel of seven judges narrowed the 100 submissions down to eight finalists. You can view the demos of their applications here. The criteria for selection were innovation, effective use of the AXP platform, feasibility, and project plan documentation. From those finalists, the following winners were selected:

  • First Place: Team MADnetwork, led by David Perez in Spain, won US$50,000 for the Building Automation Service application (BAS). Created with branch offices and multitenant units in mind, BAS helps businesses remotely monitor and manage building operations.By integrating the service management capabilities on AXP, the application minimizes the need for external servers to manage disparate facilities (HVAC, lighting, plumbing, presence, fire, flooding and smoke detectors), which reduces capital and operational costs. The solution also saves energy costs by determining, in real time, which resources are being consumed, and to what degree, by working with a remote management solution.
  • Second Place: Team Enhancers, led by Rajesh Kotagiri in India, won US$30,000 for the Local Advertising Mesh Network Platform (LAMP) application. LAMP creates a distributed ad-serving platform hosted on the AXP. This platform will reside on ISRs targeted initially toward retail deployments: For instance, retail stores can display ads on LCD units in various locations. With this solution, businesses can tap potential new revenue streams by shifting some of their advertising efforts to their existing networking infrastructures.
  • Third Place: Team BugsBernie, led by Bernhard Beckmann in Germany, won US$20,000 for the Integrated Surveillance System application. With this application, Internet Protocol phones can be turned on during nonworking hours to monitor any audio signals in the offices. When abnormal audio signal patterns are detected (crossing a configurable threshold), the application notifies external security services or devices such as mobile phones, computers and video monitoring systems. Sabotage of telephony equipment is also detected.The Integrated Surveillance System is a simple and cost-effective means to enable a security solution in branch offices by taking advantage of an existing IP-telephony network. The application improves manageability of security systems by providing an integrated security framework to an existing network.

[via Marketwire]

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Silicon Valley Finally Gets WiMAX

With Google, Intel and Cisco being big investors in the WiMAX game, one would think that Silicon Valley would of been setup for WiMAX long ago. But Clearwire has just completed construction of more than 20 square miles in Santa Clara, Mountain View and parts of Palo Alto. But when is WiMAX finally going to go mainstream? According to a recent article, it states that:

Developers can expect to see peak download speeds of up to 10 Mbps, with average download speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps. In contrast, some of today’s 3G wireless networks typically deliver download speeds of between 600 kbps – 1.4 Mbps.

The experience is similar to that provided by Wi-Fi, but without the short-range limitations of a traditional hot spot. CLEAR uses a 4G technology that differs from Wi-Fi called WiMAX, which provides service areas measured in miles, not feet. In addition, WiMAX technology is truly mobile and enables seamless handovers from tower to tower, similar to cellular.

Service will be provided free to a limited number of qualified developers leading up to the commercial service launch in this area.

To access the network, developers can purchase a Clearwire WiMAX USB modem for $49.99. Developer-owned, CLEAR network-ready WiMAX devices, such as the Samsung Mondi and WiMAX-embedded Intel-based PC’s, are also eligible for the program.

To qualify, developers must register for Clearwire’s developer program and describe the WiMAX development ideas they wish to pursue. Interested developers can sign-up at http://developer.clear.com/innovation. The developers’ website will also include coverage maps and suggested drive routes for mobile application testing. (From the Clearwire press release.)

The remainder of the Bay Area is expected to get WiMAX from Clearwire sometime in 2010. But what about the remainder of the US of A ? Your guess is as good as mine. I believe some in the US would be happy just to get broadband.

Comments welcome.


Router Report

Back on Nov 6th, I reported that I had decided on the difficult to track down for purchase, Draytek 2820n router. I highlighted the fact that I had not tested out the 802.11n abilities, however the wireless G appeared to be more than enough for my needs. At the end of the day, I needed near Cisco-like stability with something a little less expensive, which this router was a bit pricey despite this wish. Either way, here is how it has preformed thus far. I LOVE this router. As long as you are used to something a bit more advanced than what you buy at Best Buy with regard to the UI, this is the most stable, bulletproof unit I have ever owned.

With half of my house plugged into it, a live video stream running 24/7 (had to do something with that FiOS connection) and allowing me to daisy chain it to my FiOS router/modem because I was dumb enough to go Coax over CAT5/6, this little white box has not missed one single beat. No slow downs, not over-heating and yes…no more restarts due to freezing!!

So again, if you are sick if those alleged “prosumer” routers that supposedly provide a stable network environment, consider the Draytek, it has been the best decision I have ever made with a router purchase for my home office and the rest of the house. This little box is just plain crazy tough. Stable to a fault.

New Refrigerators Provide Broadband Access

Buy a new refrigerator and get network connected via Cisco hardware to control how your futuristic appliances will function. This 22nd century innovations promises to make life easier ala The Jetsons by having our hand held devices control our appliances and even program an oven to download a recipe to. According to the PC World article, Cisco & Whirlpool have joined forces. It also states:

Cisco Systems and Whirlpool Thursday announced their plan to develop a complete line of networked home solutions stocked with Internet-ready products and services, which are now only prototypes. Cisco launched its Internet home platform at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week.

If you want a window into the future, then CES is definitely the place. Whirlpool’s major home appliances won’t start rolling out until the end of this year, although a full line of products is currently in development.

“We focused on looking at consumers and their habits and behaviors,” says Philip Pejovich, Whirlpool vice president of corporate technology and engineering development. “The dual-income household has a lot of pressure in terms of time.”

It makes one wonder if due to current economic down turns, if this will be something that will sell. Oh…. I forget. The rich never seems to get hurt when things get bad, it is just us poor slobs who work for a living and get to pay taxes to bail out crooks and thieves. :-(

Comments welcome.


Is It Cisco or Chisco? Only An IT Pro Will Know

I was disturbed when I read the article that Intel was opening up a fabrication plant in China. Not because of the plant opening itself, but I was wondering how long it would be before counterfeit Intel chips would be hitting the market place. Unfortunately China has not been playing well with others. One only needs to read about the dog food crisis and also the toys being painted with lead based paints to make one wonder about the quality of the products coming from China.

In a recent article over at usedcisco.com, they just did a great article on counterfeit Cisco products that have been flooding into the US. And yes, the country of origin has been China. What is most unfortunate is that the government of China may be contributing to the flood of counterfeit parts. If you take a look at some of the photo’s on the usedciso.com site, they look almost like the originals.

From its site:

The relaxed attitude by China towards intellectual-property rights and often state-sanctioned piracy and counterfeiting facilities has become increasingly worrisome. The inability to discern between authentic and counterfeit products is a narrowing margin at best. Sophisticated counterfeit products have placed a real threat on the economy, specifically for secondary market electronic equipment dealers.

A perfect example is counterfeit Cisco equipment, collectively referred to in the industry as “Chisco” (counterfeit Cisco equipment originating in China). These high-tech and high-priced networking appliances are being counterfeited through Chinese channels at an alarming rate.

According to a white paper by AGMA and consulting company KPMG, counterfeit products account for nearly 10% of the overall IT products market. That’s $100 billion in fake memory sticks, drives, monitors, networking gear and other IT products floating around. “The vast majority is still being purchased from gray market, uncertified resellers that unload their goods on eBay at extremely low prices,” said Scott Augenbaum, supervisory special agent for the FBI Cybercrime Fraud unit in Washington, D.C.

Network managers have grown aware of the “Chisco” problem and have grown fearful of acquiring counterfeit network hardware. Their company’s networks cannot afford to fail on account of a faulty switch or router. Worse, their jobs could be compromised as a result of a poor purchasing decision.

These counterfeit parts floating around are estimated at $100 Billion.

So what do you think? Should we fear the products coming from China as being inferior? Will the quality of the Intel chips suffer when the made in China label is affixed to their processors?

Comments welcome.

Used Cisco site is here.

[tags]cisco, counterfeit, china, parts[/tags]