Chat with TV on view

Updated: December 21, 2015 1:14 AM

The iExpo 2015 event held by Cisco India to celebrate its 20th anniversary in the country showcased products designed and developed locally. Prabhu Malllikarjunan profiles one new technology which seamlessly integrates the television and mobile phone

During the last IPL season, a group of seven engineers—Harisha N, Maheshwari D, Anbalagan R, Santosh M, Prashant Hiremath, Ramya S and Rajath Pai—at Cisco were enjoying the semi-final match on a busy Friday evening at work. But the final match was scheduled on a Sunday, where, each of the team members were at home and could not group chat while watching the match live.

This triggered an idea to develop a system that could allow users to chat with multiple people worldwide, while watching a television programme. The team worked hard for a month to come up with a output. For this, all one would require is their existing devices—TV, mobile phone, and a set-top-box. Calling themselves as team Vshout, they have developed a system with a software that is inbuilt in set-top-box, that integrates with the user’s
mobile device for video connectivity and TV.

The smart TV technology that has developed over five years or so saw an array of changes. It shifted from having an external camera to an in-built camera. But it still didn’t allow simultaneous viewing and chatting. Even Cisco in its attempt to develop a smart TV failed, when in 2010, the company launched Cisco Umi, a video conferencing system.

Umi included a camera that fits on the top of a high-definition TV and a rectangular appliance that connected to the TV and Internet, while also handling the processing of the video data. It had to discontinue in 2013 owing to the high hardware and service cost  ($600).

The Vshout team brought a landmark change to this technology by allowing simultaneous TV viewing, chatting and even included live Twitter feed, to top it all. The cost may workout be less than $50. With live chat and live twitter feeds, it brings interactiveness with friends and family while watching a TV programme, and also keeps one updated with external world views related to the concerned programme.

The user need not have to depend on any external device and package. The video service can be offered by the DTH service providers as a value added service for a nominal cost. If the system can be customised a little more, it could also allow user to live chat with the advertisers regarding a specific product.

Perhaps, with technological developments, the new prototype developed by Vshout, with not much of dependence on the external devices and being a cost efficient model, this prototype may prove beneficial for the company in the long run. The product was showcased at the Cisco annual event iExpo 2015 earlier this month. The company focuses to encourage internal innovations, boost the startup ecosystem with a committed investment of $240 million in startups that builds products which can be used the company globally.

Amit Phadnis, president, Engineering and India Site Leader, Cisco said, “Every country, city and business is
becoming digital and innovation will be key to capturing the opportunity. Over the last 20 years, our local investments, global expertise, world-class innovation and deep partnerships have placed Cisco India at the heart of the innovation ecosystem.”

The effect of digital disruption on business has the potential to overturn incumbents and reshape markets faster than perhaps any force in history, according to a report released by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation (DBT Center), an initiative between Cisco and the International Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The report, entitled Digital Vortex: How Digital Disruption is Redefining Industries. The report investigated the state of digital disruption and the outlook for industries through a survey of 941 business leaders in 12 industries and 13 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The results of the study show that digital disruption will displace approximately 40% of incumbent companies in each of the 12 industries studied for the report within the next five years. Despite digital disruption’s
potential to overturn incumbents and reshape markets, the survey indicated 45% of companies do not believe
digital disruption merits board-level attention.

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