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Inside The Cisco Media Network

When Mike Mitchell speaks about streaming media, the depth and breadth of his experience is audible in his voice. As director of the Cisco Media Network for the past six years and involved with the company’s streaming efforts for the past eight, Mitchell has tried dozens of products and services, developed and revised protocols for users, and witnessed more successes and flops than he cares to remember. "What’s important for adoption at Cisco," he says, "is to make the use of a proven technology part of a standard business process."

Today, as part of the standard organization, the Cisco Media Network is within the training and e-learning business unit. From this position, the Network’s resources (including five fully staffed studios as well as self-publishing tools, management servers, and distributed content caches in the enterprise network) are available to virtually all the company’s other business units for learning applications, of course, as well as corporate communications. In fact, in terms of number of sessions the network hosts per year, Mitchell reports that approximately 80% of streaming at Cisco would really qualify as corporate communications.

"These are presentations accompanied by video that are frequently aimed at the sales community," Mitchell explains. The purpose of most content is to communicate about Cisco products, the situations in which they have been tested and explanations of how to best position the Cisco products in customer sales situations. "I don’t know a product manager at Cisco that hasn’t created a Video on Demand." The creation of VODs, as Cisco employees call rich media archives internally, is easily within the reach of most employees. Many are also produced by subject matter experts who have new information to offer on a particular topic. Approximately 400 VODs are recorded per month and the Cisco Media Network also hosts about 40 to 50 live broadcasts per month.

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