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Cisco plans to embed software to deliver advanced voice and video functions within its network hardware to meet a growing demand for next-generation network technology.
In a keynote speech at the Cisco Networkers 2008 event in Barcelona, Chris Dedicot, president of Cisco Europe, said next-generation networks, which can handle a mixture of data, fixed and mobile voice and video across a single infrastructure, will become a standard requirement of businesses within the next five years.
An example of a next generation network could be a wireless network in a hotel that detects a customer’s mobile phone and assigns a key code to the guest’s handset to open a room door.
Dedicot said Cisco was in talks with Tesco to deliver a next-generation network to enhance the retailer’s business processes. The supermarket is looking to enhance staff communications, training and CCTV monitoring using a next-generation network.
“Traditionally, IT was there to support the business strategy. The reality today is that IT is creating new business models. Advanced video services and the ability to collaborate is central to this,” said Dedicot.
Forrester analyst Christopher Mines said Cisco would continue to push its collaboration software with hardware because voice and video services are more visible – and therefore, more valued – by the boardroom, rather than a piece of hardware, such as a router or a switch.
“However, in these software-dominated arenas, Cisco will face much stronger competition,” he said. “Businesses thinking of buying into a single hardware and software technology stack from Cisco should try to negotiate discounts because of the strong competition in the market for collaboration software.”