Can Cisco turn itself into a consumer electronics company?

Cisco Systems can obviously be a consumer player in this market. I believe They have the resources to do so right. If they do lack anything they're not shy about acquiring it; they are one of the best at that. However, there is a bigger question out there, and that is, can Cisco change the mindset of consumers towards their offerings?

At CES, Cisco unveiled a wireless home audio product line that can play music throughout a person’s home or small office over an existing 802.11n WiFi network.

When people want to buy a small home or office audio system they usually choose Bose because of its quality speaker system. True, Bose does not offer a wireless system, but they do have wireless offerings as accessories.That is what Cisco is up against. A consumer can simply purchase a Bose Wave Music System for $800 and start listening to music from quality speakers in an instant.

The Linksys by Cisco Wireless Home Audio system will consist of half a dozen components highlighted by the mini-boom box (Conductor – great name btw).The Conductor gets music from a CD player, PC, Web services and another Linksys product called the Cisco Media Hub, which is a NAS over an 802.11n network.

But there is more: Cisco is also offering a 50 watt-per-channel integrated amp called Director, a stereo speaker kit, an iPod docking station, IR remotes, an LCD player and Controller.

John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, said that he wants to be aggressive in the CE space with an architectural play. He also said during a Web video at that he wants Cisco to change the minds of consumers.Chambers has made plenty of bets that have paid off handsomely for the company.

And he's bang on with his assumption that Cisco has to change the minds of consumers for this newly launched consumer play to be successful. Let’s not forget that Bose has a great brand for its market. This is a market that does not necessarily know the Cisco brand all too well.

As I see it the consumer who is looking for music to be played in every room, even the garage will be looking a Cisco type of solution. But those consumers who just want something easy and fast may overlook Cisco. And, let’s face it there are more of the later in the market place.

One quick hit before I go.

Graphisoft, the developer of ArchiCAD has appointed Viktor Varkonyi as its new CEO. He replaces Dominic Gallello, who has served as CEO for the past five years. No word on Gallelo’s future. Varkonyi has been with Graphisoft since 1992.

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