Fridges that talk, watches that listen and thermostats that learn your secret domestic habits: these are some of the most visible examples of the so-called “internet of things” (or “IoT” for aficionados).
Cisco, the global computing hardware group, is a big supporter of IoT. It announced yesterday that it was increasing its investment in early-stage companies in the sector to $250m over two to three years, up from the $100m it announced in January. It also unveiled three minority investments: in the enterprise start-up accelerator Alchemist Accelerator, as well two IoT software start-ups, Ayla Networks and Evrythng. Read more
Cisco Systems, under investor pressure from disappointing profits and a scatter-shot approach to new markets, on Thursday said it would fix the latter in hopes of improving the former. Read more
While around 75 per cent of US homes have broadband, only 39 per cent have a Wi-Fi router that makes their connection usable by wireless devices around the house,according to the IDC research firm. That represents a market opportunity for Cisco as consumers bring home more wireless products like the iPad and expect to be able to access the internet away from their hard-wired PC. Hence, its new range of Linksys routers launched on Tuesday, all of them using the latest “N” standard, which has penetrated only 11 per cent of homes to date. Read more
Wireless technologies have always seemed a black art to me. From Bluetooth to Wi-Fi to 3G, mysterious signal dropouts and connection failures seem to occur at regular intervals. So finding the perfect home Wi-Fi router has been like a search for the Holy Grail, and it hasn’t exactly ended with Cisco’s latest product – the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual Band N Router. Read more
Cisco launched ūmi on Wednesday, a video conferencing system for the living room that is big in bulk, price and bandwidth requirements.
It may appeal to some as a premium single-function product, but it faces stiff competition from smaller, far cheaper multi-function video conferencing rivals. Read more
Video conferencing may finally be set to go mainstream with Logitech and Cisco both set to unveil HD cameras linked to internet-connected living room TV sets next Wednesday.
With Skype HD cameras already being integrated with TVs and Microsoft due to offer video conferencing in its Kinect motion controller accessory in November, TV viewers will be getting used to being watched themselves. Read more
The latest Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section looks at the new version of the Flip camcorder:
“The success of the Flip style of camcorder has encouraged rivals such as Kodak, Samsung and Sanyo to launch similar devices, but the SlideHD is the first low-cost camcorder to feature such a large HD widescreen.” Read more
Setting up a Wi-Fi network in the home appears to be beyond many consumers, with retailers sometimes seeing returns of upwards of 20-25 per cent on wireless routers.
Enter the Cisco Valet – a simplified product that doesn’t even say it’s a router on the box – aimed at the two-thirds of US homes still without wireless. Read more
If your iPhone is still sluggish a few years from now, don’t blame Cisco Systems.
The top networking equipment maker on Tuesday announced a new high-end router for telecom companies that it said could handle three times the internet traffic of its current model at the same $90,000 base price.
Put a few of them together–ok, 72–and you could handle a video call from every man, woman and child in China. Read more
Cisco’s $3bn bid for Tandberg has made everyone sit up and take notice of video conferencing. It is only little over a week since HP launched its new SkyRoom video conferencing product for desktop computers. HP’s Halo already competes with Cisco at the high end of the telepresence market, with elaborate camera and meeting room systems which come close to simulating real-life meetings. Now, with the Tandberg acquisition and SkyRoom, both companies are looking to serve all segments of the market from high end to mass market. Microsoft has also developed teleconferencing services similar to Cisco and HP. Read more
HP today came up with a videoconferencing product that could work out 1,000 times cheaper than the telepresence mega-productions itself and Cisco have been pushing.
Cisco’s TelePresence or HP’s Halo can cost more than $300,000 for a boardroom suite setup, but HP’s SkyRoom could link two boardrooms for less than $300. Read more
It is perhaps with good reason that Larry Ellison does not speak in public that often. Whenever he does, the famously bombastic Oracle chief executive seems certain to trash his rivals, make bold predictions about Oracle’s future, and wander off topic.
Last night at a meeting of the Churchill Club, Mr Ellison said that Sun Microsystems was losing $100m a month as European regulators scrutinise Oracle’s proposed takeover of the struggling hardware maker.
On the economy, Mr Ellison said it would be at least another five years before the US begins to recover. He said it would not be a V shaped recovery with a sharp rebound, or a W shaped recovery with a double dip, or a U shaped recovery with a pause before an uptick, but an L shaped recovery — “down and not coming back up.” Read more
If past experience is anything to go by, it may be time to short Cisco Systems.
Being admitted to the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the ultimate mark of corporate respectability – and it has added 5 per cent to Cisco’s shares today – but the history of techs in the Dow has not been a cheerful one.
For many years the brain trust at the DJIA turned a cold shoulder to tech. Only IBM was admitted to the club – and even Big Blue only made it through the door after it had been around for close to 70 years. Read more
The Flip video camera became a best-seller in the US last Christmas as a cheap, dead simple device for capturing video and uploading it to a computer or the web.
Its maker Pure Digital was also capturing the market for a moment in time and has sold more than 2m units to date.
But Pure Digital’s sale today to Cisco may also be a perfectly timed exit for its VC backers – much bigger competitors are bearing down on the startup, looking to copy its success. Read more
The tech headlines this week have certainly been eye-catching.
Cisco, which in this downturn is still making a 60 per cent gross profit margin and operating profits of more than 20 per cent of revenues, is risking upsetting long-time allies like HP to get into servers – a business in rapid retreat where profits have collapsed.
Now comes news that IBM is in advanced talks to buy Sun, reversing its steady march away from the hardware business into more consistent and profitable software and services. This amounts to a big change in course: after focussing on small software acquisitions, Big Blue looks like it’s about to become a consolidator in Unix servers.
What is going on here? Read more