Cisco and video: Wi-Fi for Flip, Flash for iPad and 3D video conferencing

For Cisco, video technologies 'are definitely a pervasive play' says exec

Las Vegas -- If you didn't realize how pervasive video technology research is at Cisco Systems, consider these product previews offered up by Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of emerging technologies, in an interview with Computerworld at Cisco Live! here:

• Cisco Systems will likely launch a Wi-Fi-enabled version of its Flip camera by Christmas.

• Cisco is developing a network-based technology called the Media Experience Engine to make the Abobe Flash debate irrelevant to Apple users.

• Cisco fully supports Apple's FaceTime video chat and is developing a video client that will soon sell in the App Store to support video on the iPhone 4 .

De Beer said of the new iOS app: "You will see us create a client for video based on Mobi, which will be mobile Mobi for the iPhone ."

And adding to his preview of Apple's new iPhone video calling technology, he said, "We would absolutely love to integrate with FaceTime."

De Beer wouldn't reveal the app's cost or shipping date.

He said of the plans for a Wi-Fi Flip video camera: "We didn't buy Flip to have it be only a video recorder."

When asked when wireless might be added to the Flip, he said Cisco hadn't announced anything, but added: "I look forward to Christmas."

De Beer also said that Cisco is working on something called the Media Experience Engine, which would operate inside carrier or enterprise networks to transcode video from any input device to be received by any other device.

Such a service would mean that a device without Flash loaded onto it -- such as the iPhone and iPad -- could receive Flash-enabled media, he said.

"We have a solution for Steve's problem," De Beer said, referring to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has defended Apple's much-criticized rejection of the Flash media player operating on its mobile devices, and favors using HTML5 instead.

De Beer said Cisco is interested in developing networks that support video on all types of devices and that will support open standards in the market, much as Jobs has called for with FaceTime .

"The lines are starting to blur and video will ultimately span across everything we do," he said. "All of these devices will interoperate and form a part of collaboration with more interoperability and more seamlessness."

"We are seeing the end of the walled garden" and proprietary technologies proffered by one manufacturer.

For Cisco, video technologies "are definitely a pervasive play," he said, noting the company's long-term plans to use 3D video for videoconferencing and telepresence sessions, and even the use of holographic images.

"Someday we can sit around a virtual table and you will be able to walk around behind somebody and see the back of his head, but he will actually be thousands of miles away," De Beer said. 'It's coming."

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Matt Hamblen

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