Cisco Cius – That’s not Innovation, it’s ME TOO.

Video isn’t necessarily a winner

Cisco has been attempting to kick start the video market for ten years, especially IPTV (that’s why IP Multicast still exists). The telepresence stuff hasn’t been profitable yet, and videoconferencing market is so dire that Cisco went a bought Tandberg to pump some cash into it.
To date, video looks like a loser. But Cisco is obviously not giving in.

It’s not Innovation

Google produced the hardware design for all the silicon and sent out reference units. Google produced the Android Operating System, seeded it and marketed it. Developed and tested an API. Then made it open source (and it’s based on Linux).
Google has created and promoted a community that will develop for Android so that Cisco can buy cheap developers.
Hardware can be manufactured by existing contract manufacturers so the Cisco doesn’t evan value add to that part.
Cisco does the following:

  • design some plastic to go around the CPU, RAM and battery
  • Cisco writes the equivalent of Microsoft Word for Windows that integrates with existing IP Telephony platforms that they already have. This includes APIs for third party developers.

And that’s supposed to be innovation ?

It’s not Shipping

  • Cisco says 2011. Recent experiences in manufacturing and delivery problems
  • if you can’t deliver one switch that costs quarter of a million dollars, that’s already designed and in production how can I believe this date ?
  • The world can change between here and next year.

Did I point out it’s not shipping. And Cisco can change their mind at any time. Be very careful.

It’s not the first

It’s not the first Android tablet announced, and many will be shipping before the end of the year. It’s won’t look so cool when it’s “just another tablet”

Cisco, Apple and Facetime.

I speculate that Cisco and Apple will get together and integrate Facetime into IP Telephony. Facetime is already SIP enabled, and only needs a small amount of work to access a directory service.
And Apple got to use the name “iOS” with Cisco’s permission, what’s the payback ?

Keep Cool People

No really. It’s not exciting. The show isn’t over until the fat lady sings and so far it’s only the first act.

The EtherealMind View

Look, how hard was this to do ? Cisco has invested almost nothing to make this product. They have access to the manufacturing, a team of developers in India and an existing market to sell the product to.

This isn’t innovation. This is ME TOO, I want to follow the market and make computers like HP and IBM.

Mark my words, when you have Servers in the Data Centre and Tablet on the desk, then Desktop PCs are just around the corner.

About Greg Ferro

Greg Ferro is a Network Engineer/Architect, mostly focussed on Data Centre, Security Infrastructure, and recently Virtualization. He has over 20 years in IT, in wide range of employers working as a freelance consultant including Finance, Service Providers and Online Companies. He is CCIE#6920 and has a few ideas about the world, but not enough to really count.

He is a host on the Packet Pushers Podcast, blogger at EtherealMind.com and on Twitter @etherealmind and Google Plus

You can contact Greg via the site contact page.

  • Don’t Agree/Disagree completely

    I just don’t understand how this is a ‘me too’ device. Android is out there, true. But not with all these features. Tablets are out there, but not with 3g, 4g coming soon and all the connectivity. Think about the possibilities this device presents, in opposition to the iPAD.

    • http://etherealmind.com Greg Ferro

      The words “innovation”, “initiative” and “market leading” imply that something extra ordinary, an event of unusual quality, a fundamental change. The Cius is not any of that. It takes someone else technology and adds the Cisco IP Telephony client and some integrated networking.

      Nothing new. Not an innovation. Compare with the iPhone which was truly different to everything that came before, from the software right down to the hardware.

      Also, I don’t think that the product will be a huge success. It looks cool and you think it’s great, but I bet that very few people will ever use it.

  • http://www.queuefull.net/~bensons/ Benson Schliesser

    I agree with most of your points; fundamentally, the Cius is just a tablet running Android… or will be, when it ships. But I am excited about the video conferencing.

    In my opinion, the biggest problem with previous video conferencing tools including Telepresence has been the lack of accessibility. The devices have been expensive, required (relatively) lots of bandwidth, and were generally deployed in closed networks. If the Cius helps drive lower costs and open connectivity, then it will be a success.

    Of course I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future Cisco collaboration apps show up in the Android marketplace, etc. The tablet-phone-workstation concept is an interesting design, but not the critical part of their innovation.

    • http://etherealmind.com Greg Ferro

      While Telepresence isn’t a success, then by your logic videoconferencing should be. However, it clearly is a niche product that hasn’t taken off after ten years of promotion. Given that carriers can’t even cope with the current data plans for Internet, however are they going to cope with video (of any sort) in the next ten years.

      However, videoconferencing remains a long term possibility, ten maybe twenty years away. Until carriers are willing to seriously invest in bandwidth, it’s a dream at best. Cisco had a teleconferencing desk phone five years ago which wasn’t accepted. This product is about getting a some marketing time and looking like you have a strategy, it’s not likely to work in real life.

  • PatG

    Apple weren’t the first with a tablet either, but the iPad is selling like hot cakes even though it’s just an oversized iPod Touch. Is the iPad another me too device?

    The Cius is just a business version of an iPad – “Cisco Ciusô is a mobile collaboration tablet built for business” (straight from the data sheet). Maybe the security guys will like that, they certainly won’t want everyone connecting their personal iPads to the corporate network. Being able to dock it to a handset will probably help encourage its use for video conferencing.

    • http://etherealmind.com Greg Ferro

      Tell me about how you plan to provide the bandwidth for videoconferencing for all the possible dream scenarios proposed by Cisco.

      Be explicit about getting your service provider to support video over 3G or 4G networks.

      Also, can you support videoconferencing over your corporate wireless network and WAN without major upgrades ?

      • PatG

        All possible scenarios? Oh please. It’s ok to be cynical about marketing hype but now you’re just finding excuses to trash a (yet to be released) product. Do you really think anyone will expect to do VC in all possible scenarios from the moment the product is released?

        Video over 3G? Possible now. Maybe not in all countries, but it is possible. Yes, I have been able to make video calls with my mobile. I don’t even need to be on Telstra’s world leading 3G service to do that in Australia. Was it HD? No. Was it usable? Yes. So maybe these Cius tablets will turn out to be popular, and the carriers will invest in more mobile bandwidth over their 3G/4G networks to support better quality video because people will want it (and pay for it).

        I don’t know why you think major upgrades are needed to do videoconferencing over wireless or WANs. Plenty of organisations are doing it here over WANs and as orgnisations migrate to 802.11n it will be done over wireless too. I’ve even seen HD multicasting over wireless using Cisco’s VideoStream.

  • Charles N Wyble

    Multicast is used for many things. IPTV is certainly what many people think of. It’s not the only thing though. I support a network that uses it extensively to move very large amounts of data around.

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  • ScottV

    I guess I missed the point of this, so far all the other tablets on the market are geared toward the consumer, the Cius is the first I have found that is geared directly toward the Enterprise. Now I’m not saying they are going to deliver on this, but it makes sense on the enterprise level particularly if you already use Cisco IP Phones and have a highly mobile workforce.

    • http://etherealmind.com Greg Ferro

      The point is that anyone can make an Android tablet. By declaring early that they are developing a product, they have ‘done a Microsoft’ and prevented many other companies from even attempting to create a product. Startups won’t get funding for Enterprise product, or will find it very difficult now that Cisco has declared that they will release something.

      Also, keeps shareholders from thinking HP has a better strategy with WebOS/Palm.

      Cisco isn’t innovating, just gluing chips onto a board with plastic and using someone elses software. By all means call it an evolution, or a development, but don’t attempt to gloss it up.

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