On Cisco System’s quarterly earnings conference call last night, CEO John Chambers gave out an interesting tidbit about the demand for consumer video cameras among corporate users.
Recall that in March, the world’s largest maker of network equipment for enterprises and telecom carriers, made an underappreciated acquisition of Pure Digital Technologies, the maker of the insanely easy-to-use Flip video camera line.
Cisco’s CEO said his company had signed a contract to sell $1 million worth of its Flip handheld video cameras to just a single corporate customer. That’s a promising sign for a company Cisco paid $590 million to acquire in March. Just 589 more customers to go, John, plus the cost of the software, the chips, the plastic cases and the stock options.
Cisco has been pushing into consumer makers for some time — with Linksys and other product lines. But buying a line of cheap plastic video cameras that sell for as little as $99 seemed a surprising turn for Cisco. Chambers is now flogging the equivalent of the Kodak Instamatic camera for videos as a workplace communications tool.
The Cisco CEO has been a relentless, you might say shameless, advocate for the idea that trendy Web 2.0 technologies are finding their way into corporate organizations. The Flip camera is one of his favorite examples when he’s not talking up WebEx video conference call meetings.
What’s the etiquette, I wonder, for videoing your boss or pulling out your Flip in the middle of meetings? And will the workplace ever be the same?