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Whither digital video? Cisco, Flip Cameras and the Future

April 2, 2009

picture-11Where is online video headed in the near future?

I’m not the only one wondering this. There’s lots of speculation about video these days. Skellie over at Skelliewag wrote recently about video being “your chance to be a pioneer” (mainly in videoblogging or “vlogging”). The potential of mobile video is also getting a lot of buzz (i.e. this post on Mashable).

And now, late last month, Cisco Systems announced that they bought Pure Digital, the makers of the Flip Video Camera, for $590 million. Observers marveled that Cisco is dipping it’s toe into the consumer market beyond it’s traditional area of corporate networking and communications systems.

SMC @ Shertaon Universal Hotel. Photo by Marc Salsberry

SMC @ Sheraton Universal Hotel. Photo by Marc Salsberry

Funnily enough, I heard more from another source in the know. I was fortunate enough to attend the Social Media Club gathering about brand building via social media this week where one of the speakers, Anne Plese, was from Cisco. Along with the other excellent panelists Babette Pepaj of Bakespace and Rob Frankel of Frankelbiz, Anne talked about how her company uses social media to listen and interact with the public to build their brand. Plese admitted that Cisco’s interest in the plumbing for information technology meant that they saw the rise in video usage testing the capacity of their pipelines. Of course, I had to ask a question about what this might mean for the future of social media brand-building. Anne said she wasn’t at liberty to discuss picture-2much… on camera, of all things! But she was happy to talk offline (see photo of me waiting).

[Here’s the video of the panel from TechZulu.]

As you may know by now, video is compelling to me. It’s mainly because of video’s potential in promoting inter-community communication. Like text-based communication, video is not new but the opportunities to create, collaborate and share are. Unlike text-driven digital tools, however, video requires more conceptualization and pre-planning which provides the opportunity for offline group collaboration. Text-based tools are often anonymous, spur of the moment, potentially contentious and, due to the necessity of literacy in one common language, often exclusionary. Through visual forms of media like video, people speaking different languages can communicate a great deal through physical action and facial expressions (a process which can be augmented by subtitles). Food for thought and I’m curious what y’all think.

Stay tuned on this subject. Much more to come!

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