Cisco to shift resources to consumer push

Cisco Systems will shift resources into new product areas next year, including making a major push into homes, Chairman and CEO John Chambers said Tuesday.

As he did previously, he predicted that changes in technology and organization will drive productivity up 5 percent between last year and 2013. As one example, he said Cisco itself cut 20 percent of its travel budget in 2007 by using TelePresence instead, and expects to cut another 10 percent this year. In the bigger picture, such technologies deliver more than cost savings, including the ability to stay closer to customers and act more quickly, Chambers said.

"We are building everything that we are doing off of collaboration [and] Web 2.0," Chambers said.

In a demonstration, Chambers showed off "MyCisco" pages that employees use within the company like an internal Facebook network. Their profile pages show their recent messages, activity within communities of interest in the company, and information about their special expertise, along with presence status on voice, instant messaging and other communication systems.

Cisco also demonstrated an extension to Telepresence: real-time translation. A Cisco employee in Spain met over Telepresence with Chambers and Vice President of Corporate Communications Architecture Jim Grubb and spoke in Spanish, and his words were translated into English and delivered in a computer voice and as subtitles. The capability will be available within a year for 20 languages, said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Emerging Technologies Group, in an interview following the demonstration.

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Stephen Lawson

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