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Cisco Aims For Corporate Video

Cisco plans to bring the camera into the boardroom with Cisco Digital Media System, a collection of hardware and software for companies to broadcast business-quality audio and video to customers, clients and employees.

The $130,000 system includes a digital encoder, media manager and portal with guide, play lists and search.

Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and Flash will be supported first, with QuickTime and MPEG4 compatibility added later this year, according to the company.

The system can broadcast live or deliver on-demand content via Internet connections either wired or wireless.

"While the digital media explosion has taken off in the consumer world, businesses are just beginning to realize the potential of video," Marthin De Beer, vice president of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology Group, said in a statement.

This is the second project announced by the group looking to expand Cisco's focus beyond traditional networking. In March, Cisco paid $51 million for video surveillance company SyPixx.

Last month, Cisco bought privately held video-on-demand company Arroyo Video Solutions.

In 2005, Cisco entered the video market with the $6.9 billion purchase of set-top maker Scientific-Atlanta.

Cisco sees business-class video as a multi-billion dollar opportunity, Tom Wyatt, general manager of digital media for the company, told internetnews.com.

Cisco's entry provides muscle to a market populated by privately held companies, such as Sonic Foundation and Reflect Systems, Ira Weinstein of Wainhouse Research said.

While sales have fallen beneath the radar, business-class video is expected to see 30 percent growth, said Weinstein.

Cisco, already a leader in networking, brings name recognition to the market, making it easier to convince companies to purchase $100,000 systems, according to the analyst.

"Over time this should validate the space," Weinstein said.

Since video is a resource hog, company networks could be brought to their knees without the experience Cisco could bring, he said.

Wyatt said Cisco's third video announcement will be made in the next few months.