Cisco is betting a huge amount on video via its telepresence investments as well as initiatives of Linksys and the recent Tandberg acquisition. But it doesn't end there. They are leveraging sports and specifically sports technology to drive more bits through its routers and eyeballs to its logos. And in the process they boost name recognition among sports fans and also revenue by supplying ever-faster routers.
Recently, TMC's Marisa Torrieri
Michael Dinan interviewed Cisco Sports senior vice president and general manager Dave Holland on TMC's recently launched Sports Technology site. The fact that Cisco even has such a position tells how seriously they take the idea of supplying sports stadiums and sports as a whole with their solutions. I recently toured the new Cowboys Stadium which cost 1.5 billion to build and heard some amazing stories about what Cisco will offer a stadium to ensure they become the preferred vendor. The leverage John Chambers, personal relationships... Whatever it takes.
Cisco's hot new product in the space is called StadiumVision and it provides an interactive and personalized game experience. The technology will soon be able to adapt meaning changing the camera angles, showing replays, finding scores of other games, looking up weather conditions, team statistics, and researching various stadium menus. In addition, the monitors can integrate with sponsor branding and be used to find the closest exits and up-to-date traffic.
Holland further said, "The whole strategy that Cisco is pursuing is to bring network relevance to sports entertainment ... High-quality HD video to all the way down to handsets."
Cisco has its hands in just so many technologies and this one to me is perhaps most interesting because it allows Cisco to showcase its various underlying technologies in a seamless and holistic fashion. And in doing so it drives it brand to consumers. Personally, I think spending marketing dollars on sports initiatives is quite wasteful when you are looking to influence B2B decision-makers but in the consumer space - where Cisco is heading, it makes sense to devote resources to such endeavors.
And it also positions the company as an information hub and driver of high-value information. Similar to how Apple has leveraged hardware to provide services in the form of apps and videos which are very profitable, Cisco can potentially leverage services to grow its revenues in new, exciting and profitable ways.