RealTime IT News

Cisco Will Be Watching You

Doubling up on its Internet video surveillance software purchases, Cisco Systems  agreed to buy BroadWare Technologies this week for an undisclosed sum.

Privately held BroadWare's Media Platform and associated software let business users record, monitor and manage Web-based audio and video.

Internet-based surveillance is becoming increasingly attractive for some businesses tired of scrolling through traditional analog tape video, which is why Cisco is targeting BroadWare for its second such buy in as many years.

In March 2006, Cisco paid $51 million in cash and stock for SyPixx Networks, which makes software and hardware that converts footage from traditional analog video surveillance systems into digital form and pipes it over a computer network.

With BroadWare, Cisco said it will be able to help customers better gain access to live and recorded surveillance video to investigate and resolve crimes.

"Cisco views the video surveillance infrastructure market as an immediate high growth opportunity that requires the ability to support both IP and analog device installations," said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's Emerging Market Technologies Group (EMTG), in a statement.

De Beer will oversee the BroadWare team upon close of the deal in Cisco's fourth fiscal quarter.

Targeting new "high growth" revenue opportunities had been Cisco's mantra the last few years after the networking giant realized it would need to diversify its portfolio to keep up its solid growth.

To realize this goal, the company has been among the most aggressively acquisitive the last few years, picking up large vendors, such as set-top box giant Scientific-Atlanta and Web conferencing power WebEx, as well as smaller vendors such as BroadWare and SyPixx.

The strategy is paying off; Cisco beat estimates for the ninth straight quarter earlier this month, with sales rising 21 percent to $8.9 billion for the quarter. Scientific-Atlanta contributed $752 million in sales during the quarter, up 85 percent from the year-ago quarter.

All the while, Cisco CEO John Chambers has been beating the drum for the network becoming the Internet platform that will unify all users -- enterprise and consumer.

Earlier today at Interop 2007 in Las Vegas, Chambers trumpeted the network as the linchpin for Web 2.0 unified communications.

In this emerging space, Cisco is competing with Microsoft , IBM and others looking to unite users via voice, video, data and mobility in a collaborative Web environment.