Why you should be excited with Cisco’s Videoscape

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There’s a lot of ways I can explain how potentially awesome and game-changing Cisco’s Videoscape, a solution that integrates multiple entertainment sources with social media, is. Instead, I’m going to link a video of what it’ll all look like when it’s implemented.

Impressed yet? I was.

So what is it exactly? To put it in their words, it’s a “new solution that allows service providers to provide an immersive television experience platform by combining entertainment from multiple sources with social media, communications and mobility.” A lot of the stuff is done on the back end, and when it’s implemented successfully, all the customer sees is a set top box. It marries content on the web, content providers (Movie Studios, TV Networks, etc.) and delivers neatly to your home, in your TV, smartphone, tablet and PC.

Wait, doesn’t Google have that with their Google TV initiative?

That’s what I initially thought too, until their execs started breaking things down for me. Google TV only covers one end of the spectrum, mainly the consumer space. They still rely on the traditional ISP backbone that your computer uses to access the internet, and it’s currently limited to the TV for the meantime. And while one can argue that there are a lot of things to see on the web, it’s all fragmented – you got your YouTube and hundreds of other clones, Video-on-Demand sites like NetFlix, all requiring their own account information, their own player, their own site. What Cisco’s Videoscape solution is promising is bringing all of this into one interface, and into multiple devices. Service providers are now able to reign in all of this content and will be able to make it easy on the consumer to search, view and publish their content.

But it was all worth it, we guess?

So what? I can always download and view videos online for myself, I don’t need all of this. I have all the bandwidth that I need.

See, this is where it gets iffy. You might deny it, but the days of unlimited data will soon be over. The explosion of the internet and the amount of data and bandwidth it consumes is making life hard for Telcos like Smart and Globe. One of the main reasons that they’re pushing for online data caps is that they can’t handle the load that’s being demanded of their networks, especially when it comes to video. Don’t believe me? Well, did you know that 60% of the world’s data traffic is video? And that by 2014, Cisco projects that 91% of the consumer’s IP traffic will be video?

What does this have to do with Cisco’s Videoscape technology?

Everything actually. These Telcos are already competing with social networks like Facebook and Twitter for their basic bread and butter service: SMS. With decreasing income from their traditional revenue stream, Telcos are going to be forced to start imposing stricter data caps to control their cost. What Cisco’s Videoscape technology allows them to do is be able to control, and more importantly monetize the content that’s going into people’s homes by delivering effective, targeted ads. Think about it: you’re a PLDT customer, and you’re signed up for a service that uses Cisco’s Videoscape technology.  You also happen to be an avid biker. You’re watching an episode of your favorite sitcom, and an ad appears about a sale on bikes and bike parts. You click on the ad and you’re instantly taken to the relevant web page of the ad, complete with purchase information and address where you can see their showroom.  This kind of targeted ad placement has long been the pipe dream of advertisers and agencies around the world, and now there’s infrastructure in place to make it happen. It allows Telcos to monetize the data they’re sending out, giving them more of an incentive to expand their networks and increase capacity. These services also make data caps more palatable – Telcos can implement unlimited data consumption if users go through their portal to consume content for example. And since a majority of that will be video, users can potentially get by with small data allotments.

I’m sold. When can I get this?

Well, since Cisco only provides the backbone, it’s all up to the Telcos and other service providers if they want in on it. But from what I could gather from the smiles and *nudge, nudge* of the Cisco Execs present during the press briefing earlier today, I’m confident to say that we’ll be seeing something exciting in the coming months.