Parks Associates Blog

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cisco taking on Sonos?

I had mentioned Cisco's emphasis on the consumer market at the C-Scape event. I will say that one disappointment from the event was a lack of news regarding what the Scientific-Atlanta side of the business is doing. It seemed like Cisco talked headend, edge, and consumer retail products more than anything else and left out any real discussion on service provider CPE trends. Maybe they'll rectify that at CES.

According to a couple of news articles today, the first iteration of Cisco's consumer entertainment strategy will be a multi-room wireless music system. I had the chance to see this at C-Scape, and it is a nicely-designed system. Obviously, Cisco's goals are to get more bits and bytes of data and video through networks, so this is definitely a foundational solution for some future efforts aimed at getting more products network-connected and accessing content stored locally inside the home and distributed over a variety of access networks.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you've seen it, what aspect of Cisco's music system is wireless? Is it only the controller with the speakers being hardwired or more than that?

2:27 PM  
Blogger Kurt Scherf said...

Two elements: the controller and the music distribution itself. All three models I saw use Wi-Fi to receive music from the PC or other storage source.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see. So it seems to be similar to the Sonos system in that respect. Given Sonos' great success as a newcomer I think we'll start to see a lot of competitors in ths WiFi music distribution space, all using wireless distribution of the music to the music players, albeit with hardwired speakers, but with wireless control of the music itself. This should drive down prices.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Kurt Scherf said...

Agreed. Now, if somebody could cost-effectively take all of my CDs and rip them for a good price, I might be in the market for one of these music players!

The popular press will find it difficult to profile the Cisco consumer electronics play for anything other than a pretty-looking system. However, I was struck with the amount of development that the Cisco team put into the user interfaces and content discovery that goes beyond the core DLNA protocols. I think that this is going to be some interesting "secret sauce" that we'll see Cisco putting out there against the offerings of companies like Macrovision et. al.

11:35 AM  

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