Business Administration Education Guide

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cisco Systems + Tribe + Five Across = ?

Where is Cisco Systems heading? Cisco Systems known for networking equipment for telecommunications providers and other big companies has purchased Tribe.net which is a social networking site that has continued to lose users to My Space and Face Book.

The Tribe purchase in addition to they’re Five Across (provider of social networking /community technology) purchase will give Cisco the technology to help large corporate clients create services resembling My Space or You Tube in order to bring their customers together online. If in fact that is the direction Cisco is heading, that ambition highlights a significant shift in the way companies are thinking about social networks.

Everyday I read how social networks continue to push into the future and soon sites like My Space will be as ubiquitous as regular Web sites. Social networking attracts masses of people in one space and advertisers are salivating over how to best reach them. With new websites and technology advances, the Social Network players are aiming to create tools to let consumers, large companies and even presidential candidates create social web sites tailored for their own customers, friends, fans and employees.

Ning, is the latest venture of the Netscape co-creator Marc Andreessen. After a limited introduction last year, Marc Andreessen reintroduced Ning to users. “The existing social networks are fantastic but they put users in a straitjacket,” said Mr. Andreessen. “They are restrictive about what you can and can’t do, and they were not built to be flexible. They do not let people build and design their own worlds, which is the nature of what people want to do online.”

Ning users who are creating communities can pay $20 a month to have a community free of advertisements (delivered by Google). In addition, users can also have the option of delivering their own advertising on Ning.

Soon, everybody will just do it.

Nike has taken they’re Just Do It motto online by creating they’re own social networking site called Joga for soccer fans. A Seattle-based start-up, recently began a service called Shelfari to let book lovers share their favorite books and opinions. Last month, Senator Barack Obama unveiled the social network site My.BarackObama.com for his presidential campaign.

Brand social networking isn’t a simple 1 2 3. The challenge is getting users to join new social networks when there are few other members. With so many new social networks popping up like wild mushrooms, the next challenge is persuading users to enter all of they’re online personality information into a new online community.

Firms are quickly trying to solve the problem by encouraging a standard tool called Open ID, which would let users sign on and easily transfer profile information among social sites.

Cisco now has a subdivision called Media Solutions Group that has handled previous consumer related purchases of the wireless router company Linksys and the cable box maker Scientific Atlanta. With the purchase of Tribe.net & Five Across, Cisco Systems is trying to further its goal to become a consumer-oriented company.

Dan Scheinman, the mergers and acquisition chief who led the Linksys and Scientific Atlanta purchases, runs the division at Cisco, which has been responsible for the deals for Five Across and Tribe.net. Mr. Scheinman said in an interview that Americans were quickly changing their media consumption habits. He said his new group would let Cisco help its media customers, like TV networks and cable companies, develop their sites and move more of their content onto the Web.

“Part of our job is to form a relationship with media companies and deliver technologies and services to them, so consumers can consume what they want online,” he said.

Where is Cisco Systems heading? The dominant player in the networking equipment market place, continues to throw considerable weight into the consumer related industries. Cisco's strategy has been to provide consumers with "anywhere, anytime" and they have aggressively been pursuing just that. Consumers have a variety options when it comes to internet and media usage and it looks as if Cisco may be included in almost all of them.

Careers in Technology

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