Cisco builds on its video offering

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) is broadening its video strategy with the release of new products along with an acquisition.

The company announced plans to purchase Denmark-based DiviTech A/S, a provider of digital-service management systems, as part of a broader video strategy that includes the unveiling of Cisco’s Digital Media System (DMS).

The DMS is a suite of digital media products and services highlighted by Enterprise TV. Also part of the offering will be a new Cisco Digital Media Player 4400G and increased functionality for the company’s existing digital signage and desktop video applications.

DiviTech’s DSM products offer media broadcasters, cable and IPTV service providers an intuitive interface for creating, modifying and managing video networks, Cisco says.

DiviTech’s DSM technology includes a software application that will allow service providers to centrally provision and deliver localized content, such as local and regional news and on-demand video and services, within a specific geography.

Cisco plans to integrate DiviTech’s DSM product with its ROSA network and element-management system to create a platform that offers digital video element, network and service management in a single product.

DiviTech marks Cisco’s 128th acquisition. The deal is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to be finalized in Cisco’s fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008. Financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed.

Cisco plans to integrate DiviTech into its Digital Media business unit as part of the Service Provider Video Technology Group. DiviTech employees will move into Cisco’s Copenhagen facility.

On the product front, Cisco unveiled video surveillance modules for its Integrated Services Router (ISR) platform. The modules are intended to converge physical security over an IP network but are also designed to support non-IP video surveillance equipment to enable a migration to IP-based surveillance.

Cisco has more than four million ISR branch router customers. Video surveillance is one of a number of services that run on the ISR, which also supports unified communications, network security, VPNs and mobility.

The video surveillance modules for the Cisco 2800 and 3800 series ISRs include:

Video Management and Storage System (VMSS) Network Module, which helps enable local archival and management of video images. VMSS lets customers manage and monitor multiple video sources through a single converged interface, Cisco says. It supports Cisco and third-party IP cameras.

IP Video Surveillance 16-Port Analog Video Gateway Network Module, which provides high-density analog video encoding, as many as 30 frames per second per port at as many as 4CIF video resolution, support for Motion JPEG and MPEG4, remote Pan Tilt Zoom camera control, integrated contact closure ports, and embedded motion detection.

Cisco also rolled out video surveillance modules for its 3200 series ISR, which is designed for environmentally challenging outdoor and mobile environments. The Cisco IP Video Surveillance 4-Port and 2-Port Intelligent Video Gateway PC-104 cards provide video surveillance capabilities for mobile workers, such as first responders and transportation operators, as well as outdoor fixed environments, such as kiosks and traffic lights.

Physical security specialist ADT will resell the new Cisco products.

Cisco also enhanced its Digital Media System (DMS) for enterprises. Among the new features are an interactive application, called Enterprise TV, a new digital media player, and expanded functionality for the company’s existing digital signage and desktop video applications. The 18-month-old DMS system has more than 600 customers across financial services, retail, education, sports, entertainment and other industries.

DMS Release 5.0 includes Cisco Enterprise TV, an application that allows organizations to deliver on-demand video and broadcast live TV channels over an IP network to digital displays. With a remote control, users can access content through on-screen menus and program guides, and organizations can create and customize lineups and content libraries.

The new media player is the DMP 4400G. This is an IP endpoint that enables digital signage and Enterprise TV through the ability to play high-definition live and on-demand video, motion graphics, Web, and dynamic content on digital displays.

The DMP 4400G includes hardware options of up to 4 gigabytes of local storage and support for MPEG-4/H.264 and Adobe Flash 9. The existing DMP 4305G model supports standard-definition and high-definition MPEG-2, RSS, and other Web formats and dynamic data.

For digital signage, DMS 5.0 applications now support digital signage content such as Flash 9 video, scrolling tickers and emergency notifications. This application uses the same hardware and management platform as Cisco Enterprise TV.

For desktop video, DMS 5.0 includes new content-level viewing security options, more detailed usage reporting, the ability to share content and embed videos into Web pages or other applications, closed captioning, and video portal support for non-English languages.

Customers of the Cisco Wide-Area Application Services WAN optimization product can use it with DMS 5.0 without making additional infrastructure investments, Cisco says.

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