Cisco’s Dr. Ken Morse Talks Challenge, Opportunities of Going IP

The Cisco philosophy has evolved over the years as it looked to ensure its customers could seamlessly move from one generation of IP equipment to the next and, ultimately, to one where cloud-based environments now enable customers to quickly spin up a new service like an OTT channel. “Previously those sort of efforts required a committed business but with cloud services we have lowered the cost experimenting and operating those sort of services,” says Dr. Ken Morse, Cisco, SP, video software solutions.

Cisco's IBC presence helped broadcasters better understand the potential of an all-IP environment.

Cisco’s IBC presence helped broadcasters better understand the potential of an all-IP environment.

Dr. Morse is the first to happily admit that Cisco has spent much of its time “wargaming” its technologies and trying to break them. They are also helping change the culture of their customers as, increasingly, the gap between operations personnel and developers of code and software is closing and developers are playing a larger role in operations of a given facility.

“We want to bring something else to the table and we know that we can replace SDI with IP,” says Dr. Morse. “But customers want to see how that will change their business outcomes or their remote productions.”

The key to the future is the concept of virtualized video processing where the days of having to build a production facility with dedicated machines that might only do one function will be replaced one where those machines can run different software packages depending on the production needs. Cisco is looking to work alongside other industry players like Imagine, Grass Vallley, Harmonic, and more to create a singular platform that can use different components.

“The true promise is in things like the other manufacturers are doing where they take their products, virtualize them for the cloud, and run on the IP infrastructure,” says Dr. Morse. “And now it is all about ensuring that standards as this will work or not work based on interoperability.”

One of the interesting things to watch will be an industry that transitions from developing, selling, and buying dedicated hardware boxes to one that is more software focused. And it will most likely take a long time as not only will the vendors and manufacturers need to change the way they approach everything from product design to manufacturing and sales and support but also the potential marketplace will be limited as customers will be in the midst of amortizing existing hardware for a number of years.

“It will change the dynamics and the whole competitive space,” adds Dr. Morse.

Given Cisco’s reputation in IT and also 10-plus years of experience with video the company is already well versed in how the IP transition changes the conversations with potential clients. Issues like whether the client wants a private, public, or hybrid system is the starting point and then it gets to issues like how applications and services will be orchestrated across that platform.

“And then there is making sure there is consistent security across the whole thing because cyber-attacks are a huge concern,” says Dr. Morse. “We want to show broadcasters what the IP transition is all able and show examples of how service providers are embracing the IP approach in technologies and the outcome it has for their business.”

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