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Cisco Plans Its Home Invasion 128

Posted by Zonk
from the my-fridge-talks-to-me-at-night dept.
theodp writes "Despite lots of scars from earlier consumer craziness which included an Internet-connected fridge, Newsweek reports Cisco has set its sights on your living room, including videoconferencing which would let CEO John Chambers watch his beloved Duke basketball with far-away relatives. While recent acquisitions of Linksys and Scientific Atlanta make Cisco the only company that can come in on top of technology that's already inside homes, some skeptics say speaking to the consumer is simply not in Cisco's genes."
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Cisco Plans Its Home Invasion

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  • by AubieTurtle (743744) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @04:31PM (#14903487)
    Just because the CEO thinks something is cool doesn't mean the general public will. I've used all kinds of high end video conferencing systems and none of them come anywhere close to replicating the experience of being in the same room with other people. And that's in a business setting. The difference between being together and being hooked up on video conference would be even greater for social situations. Throw in the lesser quality that they're going to have to go with for a home system over a business system for cost reasons and things look really dim. Which isn't to say there would be any market, just that the experience is not likely to be compelling enough to become a big seller.
    • Just because the CEO thinks something is cool doesn't mean the general public will.

      Is that a nice way of saying "Duke sucks?" Because I whole-heartedly agree.
    • But that is also the way that a lot of great products have been developed. One guy dreams up something he thinks would be really neat, brings it to market and it makes millions. Of course there have also been many products that have failed totally and completely with most of us wondering who the hell thought that up.
    • Throw in the lesser quality that they're going to have to go with for a home system over a business system for cost reasons and things look really dim.

      Is this really true anymore? The kinds of hardware resources that used to be required for "high end" solutions are now commonly found in consumer grade hardware, and with the advances and proliferation of broadband in the home, maybe the quality issue is not really an issue anymore...

      • Well, for "high end solutions" from 20 years ago, you're absolutely right. The bar for high end has continued to move for businesses, however. Cheap, easy-to-use systems typically cost about $5,000 per room today. However, better stuff is often used, and this costs much, much more.

        State-of-the-art videoconferencing systems today can send and receive broadcast-quality video from multiple sites. These rooms can have multiple cameras, staff in a hidden control room to operate the cameras and participant mi
        • Cheap, easy-to-use systems typically cost about $5,000 per room today. However, better stuff is often used, and this costs much, much more.

          Oh, I agree "Business Class" solutions do cost more. But I don't think the underlaying technology is more expensive, or even that much different. I think it's more along the lines of they know they can get more by calling it a "Business Class" solution.

          This can be seen in many areas such as Internet connectivity, and every-day products sold to government, and busines

  • Control? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Homology (639438) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @04:33PM (#14903494)
    Consumers will exert as much control over their TVs as they now have over their Web browsers, ordering from a limitless menu of programming. With a few clicks of the remote control, viewers will be able not only to watch old movie classics, but to open video and audio connections to far-flung family members, so they can view shows (say, Duke basketball) and talk to each other as though they were all sitting in the same room.

    The dude writing the article should not should not just copy/paste something produced by Cisco market department. The remote controll as it is today is quite simply not suited for this expanded functionality, and I like my remote control to be small and not a big keyboard.

    • Re:Control? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ROOK*CA (703602) *
      The dude writing the article should not should not just copy/paste something produced by Cisco market department.

      Well I don't know about you but I did get the impression that author of the Article had no idea that Cisco even existed before he got this assignment, the whole article smacks of "Golly Gee, This Cisco is really great ! They made the whole Internet ! You guys should check these folks out!". Therfor I would not be surprised if the Cisco Marketing Group wrote a big portion of his article for h
    • Consumers will exert as much control over their TVs as they now have over their Web browsers, ordering from a limitless menu of programming. With a few clicks of the remote control, viewers will be able not only to watch old movie classics,

      Do most of this now with a mythtv system. As to being able to see and talk with relatives using video conferencing, pretty much a non-starter. No reason to waste bandwidth on something as useless as that. There is a reason they are in another city 1500 miles away.
  • From TFA (1)
    audio, video and data technology requires a new type of wiring called "category 5," which has five strands within one sheath.
    Wrong....
    • Category 5? New kind of wiring?
    • just for the non-geeks in the audience (there might be some) cat 5e is actually eight wires (but only 1 2 3? and 5? are in use (they are colored Blue/Bluewhite and Orange/Orangewhite) bonus GeekPoints with the clip down what is the correct wiring for Straight -Crossover and Rollover cables?
      • The others are most certainly in use. They're grounded wires twisted around the signal carrying wires. Try not connecting them and then running a decent length of cable in a moderately noisy environment.
      • First, pins 1,2,3 and 6 are in use. 1 TD+, 2 TD-, 3 RD+, 6 RD-.

        On a straight through cable both ends would be:

        pin # wire color
        1 white w/ orange
        2 orange
        3 white w/ green
        4 blue
        5 white w/ blue
        6 green
        7 white w/ brown
        8 brown

        For a Cross-over cable, on one end you would just swap wires
        1&3 and 2&6.

        You've got me on the rollover cable. Never heard of it.
        • ...except if it's a gigabit crossover cable, where you have to cross the other pairs too, and you loose the white/color;color interleaving scheme.
          • isn't gigbit ethernet equipment autosensing by default? i thought part of the standard was including the capability to use a regular ethernet cable or a crossover without having to wire them differently?
            • Sadly, that part of the spec is optional. Most gig gear does implement it though.
              • interesting, i thought it was accross the board, good to know since i'm currently looking into upgrading my home network to Gig.
                • I only have experience with "enterprise class" gigabit (read: Cisco), and as an earlier poster pointed out, whether the autosense is there depends on the equipment. Some switches/routers have it, some don't. The newer the gear the higher the likelihood that it exists, though. Admittedly, you only need it on one end, but still. Autosense is good for straight cables, or gigabit crossed cables. A regular crossed cable won't work at all, whether autosensing or not.
        • Rollover cables are used to talk to the console port of a router. You make them by "rolling over" the connector on one side of the cable, upside down. The pinout is therefore 12345678 to 87654321.
    • by TPS Report (632684) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:21AM (#14905439) Homepage
      From TFA (1) audio, video and data technology requires a new type of wiring called "category 5," which has five strands within one sheath. Wrong....


      You know, I can just see some real tech guy, testing him to see how much disinformation he can get away with, trying not to choke with laughter..

      Real Tech Guy: [ntk.net] hehe. And uh, so we have this new hightech stuff that's just out on the market, it's called "category 5" cable. They uhm, they call it that because it's like hurricanes. Like, a category 5 hurricane is super powerful. So the network manufacturers stole that idea, and a category 5 cable is super powerful. Like a hurricane.
      Brad Stone: [msn.com] huh. thats so cool.
      Real Tech Guy: And uh, (choking sounds, as he tries not to laugh) uhmm, what else. So anyway, Cisco, they --
      Brad Stone: Sysco? [sysco.com]
      Real Tech Guy: ... yeah. Yeah, Sysco. I think you Americans spell it "Cisco" here, but anyway .. heh.. uh, so Sisco, besides making good food products, they decided to diversify into electronics. They make these things called Internet Routing Components.
      Brad Stone: Mmmhm. I've heard of that.
      Real Tech Guy: You can just call them "IRC" for short. hehehe. hhehehe... ... and uh, well anyway. I think that's enough for your first article. Let me know how it turns out!
      Brad Stone: Thanks man! I'm gonna write all this up right now!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm not worried. I have a panic room.
  • funny! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "television, telephone and Web services will flow into living rooms over the same fat Internet pipe"
    They already do, it's called Comcast
  • by highwaytohell (621667) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @05:03PM (#14903604)
    Are Cisco intent on stopping all social interaction of any kind? If i want to watch the football and ogle the cheerleaders with some friends, i generally invite them over to the house, light up a barbecue and get beer out of the fridge. Cisco possibly suspect that we are all germophobes who hate leaving the confines of our house or interacting with humanity of any kind. Humanity may be evolving, but there is still that caveman/woman in us that needs to have our own social groups and interact with them. Half of the human language is based on physical presence, and this just takes all of that away. John Chambers must be living in some deluded Lawnmower Man fantasy land.
    • Moreover, why does anyone at Cisco think making casual communication more complicated (and expensive) is going to succeed? When I want to watch the game with friends, I don't want to play the techie. Home networking is already too complicated, placing too much of a burden on the end user all while hopelessly confusing him. Security, ports, IP addresses, and troubleshooting are still beyond the average TV watcher.

      Anybody who assumes these challenges will simply fade away as we put more and more service
    • MAYBE not every group of friends is in a 30min drive radio from each other, ever think about that?
      in other words, i think this push is to overcome too long distances, not to overcome too short distances.
    • John Chambers must be living in some deluded Lawnmower Man fantasy land.

      Either that or he doesn't live near the family members he'd like to watch the game with.

      This being slashdot, let's go with the idea that he's a delusional freak.

  • .. all these wired features and many more will be available by the end of next year ..
    Ah, I just can't wait to be spying on my kid, reading my email, and keeping up on slashdot WHILE paying for a movie.
  • by unitron (5733) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @05:08PM (#14903628) Homepage Journal
    "Consumers will exert as much control over their TVs ..." et cetera blah, blah, blah.

    The only way consumers will have any control is if Cisco-SA-Linksys stay the hell out of the content business and have enough money and clout to tell the content business to get stuffed.

    Otherwise it's Sony all over again. The consumer isn't seen as the real customer.

  • by 9mm Censor (705379) * on Sunday March 12, 2006 @05:09PM (#14903635) Homepage
    "While recent acquisitions of Linksys..." 3 years ago.
  • Oh Dear.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by segedunum (883035) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @05:10PM (#14903641)
    Microsoft, Intel, AMD and now Cisco all have this strange belief (mostly via their idiot CEOs) that they're going to make this triumphant entry into peoples' living rooms. I'm afraid they are PC software and hardware companies, and nothing more. They just don't have what it takes in the same way as Apple, LG and other consumer electronics companies do.

    There's also the issue of the use OF DRM, and the paradox that the only way you can make a digital home is to make content flow like water i.e. it's free (like peoples' MP3 collections today) or ridiculously cheap. There's no way that's going to happen legitimately.

    There's also the issue that the average home user can't afford a home network, a central Windows Media server or ridiculously expensive Cisco equpment.

    These silly PC companies are all pissing patterns in the snow.
  • Until holography becomes available(Star Wars? [sithclan.net]), I don't think the experience will be quite like having them actually there. Even then it may not compare. OK, I'm dreaming...
  • A prerequisite (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alarash (746254)
    If Cisco plans to "invade" homes, they'll have to drop their IOS crap. Or at least develop a graphical management system. Command lines are fine and all, but anyone who dealt with IOS will tell you they wished they could set simple things via a graphical interface. And home consumers will never consider buying a product that they can configure only via a shell.
    • You can use cisco works once the thing is up and running (plug it into a laptop via console or lan connection and configure it). It's still not really designed like a linksys router for "quick setup" however
    • .. not that you're wrong, but because *before* people have to deal with that, Cisco will have to make their equipment works out of the box with everybody else's.

      That means Cisco is going to have to step boldly into the '90s and get MII autoconfig working.
    • Re:A prerequisite (Score:3, Informative)

      by grumling (94709)
      If Cisco plans to "invade" homes, they'll have to drop their IOS crap. Or at least develop a graphical management system.



      Well, if you look at the top left corner on this site [linksys.com], you'll see that Linksys is a division of Cisco Systems. The very same Cisco that is the subject of the article.

      I really don't think they are planning on selling the standard home user a 7200VXR chassis!

      • Although I could use one of those 2800's...:)

      • I really don't think they are planning on selling the standard home user a 7200VXR chassis!


        The way cisco works, I doubt they'd care as long as they paid up, even if it means they gave up their firstborn for the term of the contract. I'd only be worried when I start seeing "Eternity" on their site as a valid option for a contract term for CCO access to support.

    • Re:A prerequisite (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Cisco already has a GUI for it's routers (along with a variety of UIs for other devices).. named SDM (Secure Device Manager). It has firewall, intrustion prevention, secure configuration, and a slew of other features to set up a feature-filled device. Those that believe the IOS is crap are those that don't understand it. Being an admin of a carrier-grade network I'll take a CLI over a fluffy UI any day of the week. It's extrememly powerful and offers features that others in the industry try to simulate.
    • Uh. I've used IOS and I don't wish the whole thing were replaced with a graphical interface. Obviously a graphical interface is neccesary for the home market, but I prefer being able to configure by command line than by web interface, or at least make it optional.
      • I agree entirely. I would like to add to your point (if I may). One area where a command line owns over GUIs (and will for quite some time) is usability over a slow link. My employer's network has many sites that are literally hundreds of miles apart, and frequently unmanned. We have dialup modems hooked into console servers should we lose our internet link to these facilities. They're a little choppy, but they work. I can not imagine being able to run a GUI of any sort over that kind of connection. I
        • A slow connection doesn't mean you can't have a GUI, it would just have to be one more like a browser and less like Remote Desktop. One where the set of commands available and the windows and menus for parameterizing them are driven client side, and a limited set of commands are sent over the network as you make GUI decisions. Small bandwidth doesn't have to eliminate a GUI - just look at the simplicity of early browsers working over low-baud modems, or early online games like Quake working over the same. Y
    • If Cisco plans to "invade" homes, they'll have to drop their IOS crap. Or at least develop a graphical management system.

      If you'd remove your head from your ass for just a moment and google for "Cisco SOHO", you would find a myriad of devices like the Cisco SOHO 71, Cisco SOHO 90, Cisco 300, and many more that provide a web-based user interface.

      They've been doing this for years too.
    • i'm more worried that they will take code from their aquisition of scientific atlanta. SA DVR boxes have the single worst interface i have ever used. it buffers inputs for tens of seconds when it gets backed up (for no apparant reason) and shows no on-screen indication that it has recieved an input signal other than by performing the action some hundreds of milliseconds later. it feels like remote desktop over 56k.
    • Cisco has many web based configuration utilities. Every GUI from configuring 2900 series switches, to PIX firewalls, to the Cisco Call Managers.

      Ask google before posting dumb accusations.
  • So what? Be Borg. ;-)

    If they really didn't have it, they have already assimilated [techwhack.com] that particular strand of DNA [kiss-technology.dk]:

    Product line [kiss-technology.dk].

  • by aggles (775392) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @05:44PM (#14903755)
    The home networking scene is a mess! There are overlapping wireless frequencies everywhere and plenty of security holes. Linksys has done well, but so much more is possible. How about for starters; whole-property roaming coverage, media server hooked to my stereo, backup storage, a bot system to handle my chores, multi-channel video capture, an inbound VPN listener for access into my home network while out and about, and a personal Web server. I welcome cisco into my home if it can give me these things - and it can. However, I am a consumer and demand much from my sources of technology - including transparency.
    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday March 12, 2006 @08:05PM (#14904323) Homepage Journal
      Let's see what Cisco has done with one of their product lines - the venerable WRT54G. They've taken the G, then the GS, chopped the RAM, chopped the flash, installed an OS that can't be readily enhanced (and charges a royalty), released a buggy-as-all-getout software image, and raised the price. Linksys has sold dozens of these things by making a good product in the consumer space, then Cisco [apparently] came in and screwed up the company. I've recommended hundreds of these over the past few years and that's been thoroughly squelched.

      Don't get me wrong, I love a 3560 switch as much as the next guy, but their success in the technology aisle at Staples is a stinker.
  • by RunFatBoy.net (960072) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @06:04PM (#14903846)
    Cisco obviously has the technology, it's the marketing that needs to change. I guarantee that my mother would have trouble identifying Cisco's core technology and even if she knew of their domain, would have trouble identifying them as a brand she should look for at Best Buy. -- Jim http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net]
  • Game blackout areas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Not_Wiggins (686627) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @06:11PM (#14903877) Journal
    I know it is just a nit-pick, but using the example of video conferencing with friends that are so far away made me think about game broadcast blackout areas. I mean, how can I watch a football game with friends across the country if they're not "allowed" to watch the game anyway?

    Or, more to the point... will the NFL/MPAA/[insert anti-digital copying lobby] go after this device since, to get around said blackout, I could point it at my TV and share the experience with said friends?
  • (previously on Slashdot... [slashdot.org]) Non-business customers won't tolerate the scam that Cisco make you go through when buying second-hand kit -- that they make sure you "relicense" the embedded software to the new owner when selling on your old kit (the software that's completely irrelevant to anything other than the hardware they sold it with). The list price of a "relicense" is usually 60-90% of the original hardware cost ... Cisco say they're only getting what's due to them but it's just rather dubious attempt at control over a legitimate after-market.

    I'm not sure that the business culture that produced this kind of revenue scraping is going to know how to sell to the general public.
    • it's perfectly legitimate assuming part of the purchase involves signing some sort of actual pen and paper contract licensing the software. unlike most EULA's which tend to only stand up in court along the lines of "if you do x we will do y" and the buyer suing over action y, if you sign a contract that the license is non-transferable and the software is licensed not sold then you have no right to transfer the license.
    • Non-business customers won't tolerate the scam that Cisco make you go through when buying second-hand kit -- that they make sure you "relicense" the embedded software to the new owner when selling on your ....

      Not only this but they are going to have change their entire support model for the consumer area.

      Consumers are not going to purchase yearly SmartNet contracs on EVERY device so they can get firmware aka IOS upgrades on their products. They are not even going to play the game of purchasing the chea
  • It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive Earthmen or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the electrons will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new silcon overlords.
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @07:16PM (#14904138)
    I don't know about the states, but around here when we say "home invasion", we mean "Kick in the door and beat the crap out of the residents so we can take their stuff."

    It's a term they use in the criminal code [justice.gc.ca] too; it's not slang.
    • here in the states it is the same except replace "take their stuff" with "rape and or murder them"
    • On the contrary, home invasion is a very innovative new revenue stream, which has so far only been tapped by our phone and electric companies. Ensuring that all corporations have this right is key to their remaining competitive in the global marketplace, and is thus essential to our national security.
  • by FishandChips (695645) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @07:42PM (#14904232) Journal
    Jeez, it must be tough being the super-successful CEO of a super-successful company. You come up with this great idea to invade people's living-rooms - why bother to be asked in? - and then learn that you'll have to take your place in the queue. A few other guys are eager to knock the door down and start lifting Joe Sixpack's wallet: Microsoft, Apple, Intel, AMD, Sony, Samsung, AOL Time-Warner, Google, Amazon, a dozen telcos, a couple of dozen huge media combines like NI, several hundred ISPs, a clutch of VOIP outfits, Blockbuster, Hollywood, the music industry, major retail chains, and a few thousand internet fraud artists and phishing rings. One at a time boys!

    I guess this is some kind of bullshit bubble. There aren't enough living-rooms to go round to service this lot even once, and when folks discover that the "living-room of the future" offers the same crap TV as today except with overpriced and murky video-conferencing, they are likely to fit a few new locks on the door and get out the big scissors when they see Mr Suit's fingers straying towards their wallet again. Me, I'm going to stay inside and watch a couple of dozen CEOs brawling and shouting on the lawn outside.
  • Oh shit... Just another way to sucker in those college grads who paid many thousands of dollars for their education...only to repay it back at minimum payments. The person in the cubicle next to me has a student loan of $43K and is haveing a very hard time of it. They're close to living in their car only because their parents live on the east coast and they don't want to move back. Most of the graduates are chipping in to buy cable at one person's apartment, just so they can say they have high speed inte
  • comcast-sub03225697>
    Password:
    comcast-sub03225697#set vod op adult yes
    comcast-sub03225697#set vod channel 561 on
    comcast-sub03225697#set vod purchase hotsexynudenurses-ep1 confirm

    I don't see them being too swift on the need for enabling one-handed remote use among today's cable and satellite users. Sort of like Cisco writing Windows. It would be like using Linux to surf for pr0n. Oh, wait...
  • Anyone else have visions of a $2000 4MB Flash PCMCIA card inserted rectally in the privacy of one's own kitchen?
  • OK let me bring some insight as to what potential is avaiable for Cisco to enter the home market.

    Time Warner is one of Cisco's biggest customers. Time Warner is also a huge player in the broadband and home cable market.

    Cisco's aquisition of Scientific Atlantic brings a Cisco owned product in to the home user cable market.

    Cisco's recent agreement to purchase SyPixx Networks Inc (http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2006/corp_030706.h tml?CMP=ILC-001 [cisco.com]) also brings them in to the home security market.

    Now let's put th
    • I certainly can imagine being asked to pay A$70+ a month for this stuff, and then showing them the door.
    • For those that say Cisco is incapable of speaking to the home user market on the home user level, I have one word for you. Linksys.

      Having the technology pieces in place is less than half the battle. The reason people are skeptical about Cisco's ability to deliver on this promise has to do with Cisco's roots and core focus. It's very difficult to turn a large company that made its fortune selling routers to Fortune 500 comapnies into a company that can successfully package and market its vision for the l

    • Ya, and HLS will throw in a few billion to control what you watch, sniff your packets, read the contents of your refrig, in case you have to much beer in there, read and store your hard drives, and rearange your po^v^v files. Deliver your summons direct to your tv set.

      Really looking forward to the home invasion I am.
    • For those that say Cisco is incapable of speaking to the home user market on the home user level, I have one word for you. Linksys.

      And what did Cisco do with that word?

      [slashdot.org] http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=179986&cid=149 04323 [slashdot.org]

      In three years company redesigned Linksys router boxes. Users get small plastic boxes that use different coloring. Router hardware goes worse. What happens when you cut out QoS support in order to save things.

  • Just what I don't need.......more spam delivered via the internet to my fridge. I allready got a can of it in there now.
  • I am sure that this companies stock will go up several points in the next couple weeks just based on this story!
  • Cisco is prolly thinking about home networking. Its the area every tech. major thinks is the way to acheive the "Third Paradigm". http://witopia.blogspot.com/2006/03/ubicomp-rumina tions.html [blogspot.com]
  • They just need to remember that for a home audience, there's a lot more to go around in terms of competition, and their 'name recognition' means nothing to those that don't understand the nature of Cisco's business. There are so many inherent biases to Cisco products (the PIX, their routers, etc) that we forget, in the networking world at least, that there are other good offerings out there.

    That, and home users are not going to pay an arm and a leg just to have something that is stamped "Powered by Cisco".

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