Cisco Begins Push for Consumer Market

Cisco Begins Push for Consumer Market

Data networking giant Cisco Systems unveiled a far-reaching strategy here today to extend its business into consumer markets.

Part of Cisco's new strategy calls for it to develop products and technologies for building a high speed network within the home that will link a range of electronics devices, the company said.

Cisco's goal is to help extend high-speed Internet access from business to consumer markets, providing users with Internet access speeds hundreds of time faster than today's dial-up modem connections, Cisco said in a statement. Confirming rumours that have been circulating for weeks, the company confirmed it has formed a Consumer Line of Business division to implement its plan.

The company is offering a peek at its first consumer product here at the Consumer Electronics Show this week: a voice-enabled cable modem designed to allow consumers to get phone service from their cable company, in addition to high-speed Internet access and television service.

The consumer strategy has three elements, Cisco said: to provide technologies that will help service providers build high-speed connections to the home; to license out technology that will help companies develop network-enabled services and applications for consumers; and to partner with companies in all sectors of the marketplace.

As part of its plan Cisco will help provide high-speed "personal networks" for the home, allowing users to link together PCs, phones, TVs and other Internet appliances over a single broadband network.

Analysts have noted that by improving Internet technologies available to consumers, Cisco could stimulate more demand for the heavy duty data networking equipment it sells to telecommunications and other service providers, and which is the bread and butter of its business.

Cisco said its strategy will be based on an open Internet platform and will involve collaborative alliances with service providers, consumer electronic manufacturers, software developers and other companies. The company announced wide support here for its consumer strategy from more than 30 service providers and consumer electronic companies.

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