The Meshverse and Cisco’s Human Network

The new marketing initiative at Cisco is certainly heading in the direction of The Meshverse:

At the heart of Bostrom’s statement lies what Cisco is working towards: to change the way Cisco Systems is perceived in the marketplace. Cisco is no longer a physical network to be taken for granted, but the powerful facilitator of human contact and connections.

Three Minds @Organic: Welcome To The Human Network: Cisco

and Three Minds makes it clear that this is not a simple ad campaign – the logo and web site have changed to reflect this new direction. There are stumbling blocks along the way though as noted by AlterPoint:

We’ve blogged in the past on Cisco’s consumer efforts and its awkward fit with their cash-cow commercial hardware business and it looks as if the awkwardness continues. The first thing that struck me is the tag line: “See how the Human Network is changing lives everyday.” So I like that and it makes sense, but then they put a picture of a 3845 router next to it as the “Featured Product.” Oh the humanity! I would have expected a set-top box or at least something with which most human consumers are familiar.

Cisco’s Human Side

The C|Net link on AlterPoint that makes an even more telling observation:

So if Linksys is the consumer brand and Cisco is the brand for products sold to phone companies and cable operators, why does the company need to make Cisco “relevant” to anyone other than those customers? Do they really think consumers will choose Time Warner’s cable service over a satellite service because Time Warner uses Cisco set-top boxes and the satellite provider uses Motorola set-top boxes? As a consumer myself, I’d have to say I doubt it.

Given the context, I’d agree with that conclusion. However, the context is missing something critical. The problem isn’t Cisco’s new branding, it’s the disconnect between hardware providers, service providers and the actual content product consumers buy. If the writer’s of 24 or Grey’s Anatomy were to provide exclusive content to viewers with Cisco boxes, then consumers would care about what set-top box their service provider used.

In the 24/7, agent-driven marketplace of The Meshverse, service providers may deal with multiple hardware providers whose interoperable equipment is used in product placements and partially compensated for by some virtual currency such as Linden Dollars. This idea of interoperability really isn’t so hard to conceive of once you understand as I’ve previously noted, what Alan Kay means when he says “hardware is just software crystallized”. So while there’s still a long way to go, when a maker of hardware things, is telling stories about connecting people that’s a good sign for the Meshverse.

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1 Comment »

  1. The Roots of Hardware…

    In other blogs, I’ve quoted Alan Kay’s statement that “hardware is just software crystallized” and I’m about to do so again(the link will show up in the comments) because as more and more hardware companies move into softw…

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