Facebook-Skype Alliance Could Drive Some Serious Video Bandwidth Usage

Maybe This is "THE" Video Conferencing Technology

A few random thoughts this week...

We keep hearing about the "Year of Internet Video" and I'm always excited, but it doesn't materialize (ok, ok, blame the recession a little bit). Nothing seemed to be THE application that drove the video bandwidth demand, not Netflix streaming or (probably not) Cisco Umi. But, then I saw this story last week: Facebook-Skype Alliance Threatens Google Dominance Skip the Google reference for now. Imagine what this could do for video on the Internet. How many people use Facebook at the same time? Now, with a click of a button, they could be in a Skype video conference? With maybe a 10-way video chat? All intergated into the Facebook webpage. Damn. There are millions on Facebook at any one time. My wife is addicted. What Facebook adds to Skype is a dynamic White Pages. Yes, yes, 500 million users already on Skype, whatever. Facebook is where the active people are and now they could, with a single click, drive a lot of video traffic.

We have Cisco CUWL Pro licensing for IP Telephony. Overall, I'm happy, but it's still DLUs underneath the hood. That leads to interesting situations when trying to get more DLUs....err... CUWL licenses. The concept with CUWL is one license for one user, but that one user can have an unlimited amount of unified communications devices (IP Phones, VM licenses, IM, presence, etc). To make that work in Call Manager, Cisco provides a lot of DLUs since CUCM really has no concept of CUWL, it just knows DLUs. One situation we are running into now is if a single user wants multiple devices on different Call Manager clusters. "Oh, well, you really need to buy more CUWL licenses then." Huh? It's still just one human being asking to add to his unlimited number of devices. Those devices just happen to be on a different Call Manager cluster. It's not the customers' fault that CUWL is just a way to package DLUs. This should be interesting to see how it works out. The tag line of CUWL is "simple". Let's see if Cisco keeps to that message.

Despite the hype, Home TV via the Internet is not ready yet. Apple TV, Google TV, Hulu+, Roku, Samsung Internet@TV, etc. - are all nice and fun, but they do not scale to a whole home solution (unless you're an incredible geek). The real test is the spouse. When I play with these home entertainment options I run the wife test. If it's not (1) good quality and (2) easy to use, it's not ready. I spent several evenings in the summer playing with some of these Internet TV options and none could pass the spouse test. It pains me to say it, but even I had to admit it couldn't match DirecTV. So, I recently upgraded to DirecTV's whole-home-DVR and it's really good. Maybe in 2-3 years - once Apple and Google drive a lot of competition and integration - it will be ready and an option to replace cable and satellite. But, for now, it's not ready.

More >From the Field blog entries:

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Positive ROI is What Made WAN Transformation Possible

Cisco's Dividend Announcement and a Little Corporate Finance Shows How Cisco is Changing

WAN Transformation is a Huge Project

WAN Transformation is a Go!

Cisco Unified Computing System is 75% Networking - Who Knew?

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