Cisco’s acquisition of Pure Digital, makers of the Flip video cameras came as little surprise to the digerati. What Linksys was to wireless home networking, the Flip is to consumer video. Good enough, simple, and inexpensive.
Cisco made its name as a big iron networking powerhouse. With its heavily publicized purchase of Linksys the company bought its way into home networking. And with its less heavily publicized acquisition of set top box maker Scientific Atlanta, Cisco gained control of another digital gateway into the home.
Cisco is just the company to make video accessible to all. Every household has at least one camcorder. Mostly it sits idle. Acquiring the video is easy enough – hit record just as granny is about to blow out the candles or the cat is about to flush the toilet. The moment can now live forever on tape, disk, or flash media. Therein lies the problem. It’s cumbersome to do anything with it after the material has been recorded. Cuing up the media to show to family and friends around the flat panel is a pain in the neck. Editing and distributing the video online is a similar pain, just head south 36 inches.
The Flip camera solves half the problem. With its USB port, the camera can attach itself to any Mac or PC. Now comes the scary part for a guy who makes his living designing editing software… The Flip camera comes preloaded with all the editing software the consumer needs. Plug the camera into the computer, and it prompts the user to install all the necessary software to edit and publish his video online. The FlipShare software doesn’t compare to Pinnacle Studio or iMovie, but it doesn’t have to. It’s so easy that people will actually use it.
Cisco has the capability to solve the rest of the problem. As GigaOm noted, it can eliminate the computer. Shoot, push to the cloud, and edit on the cloud. No Macs. No PCs. What Polaroid did for photography 50-some years ago, Cisco can do for videography. It can make it instant, inexpensive, and fun.
Cameras preloaded with editing software will be a minor disruption to business as usual. Editing on the cloud is where this is all going, and the industry will be turned on its head.