In The Boardroom With...

Mrs. Ulrica de-Fort Menares
Director of Product Management for Cisco Medianet

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Ulrica. One will read on Cisco.com Cisco.com that, "As video becomes pervasive in an organization and more video devices are used, new demands are placed on the network. It can be challenging to accommodate video needs while reducing complexity, planning for capacity, and providing the best possible user experience." Before drilling down into Cisco's medianet solution, please tell us about your background.

Ulrica de Fort-Menares: I'm a director of Product Management with Cisco, responsible for the medianet program.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: We understand that, "Cisco networking capabilities for medianet extend the boundary of networks to the endpoints, creating tight integration between intelligent network services and the rich-media applications delivered over a variety of endpoints" . Care to elaborate?

Ulrica de Fort-Menares: An intelligent network must become more application-savvy. It must hve the ability to determine the importance of a session based on its business value, and treat the session accordingly, end to end.

One of the key medianet characteristics is its ability to become media-aware. Imagine this: The network can discover the type of endpoint and automatically configure the switch port for that type of device. This ability to plug and play any endpoint in the network is an example of tight integration between an intelligent network and an endpoint.

In addition to discovering the type of endpoint, the network uses lightweight, deep-packet inspection techniques to snoop standards-based signaling protocols. This way, the network can discover the type of flow and apply policies accordingly. The network also produces flow metadata attributes that can be shared among network nodes. This sharing of flow information allows the network to apply business policies end to end.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: What is your perspective on the cost savings, quality, flexibility and efficiency benefits of medianet?

Ulrica de Fort-Menares: Reducing TCO is a key goal of medianet. To start with, we want to simplify deployment of a camera and reduce the installation cost. With the plug-and-play capability, Cisco IT estimated that the installation time for a camera would be reduced from 45 to 5 minutes. Imagine the time and actual cost saving for 10,000+ cameras!

The big challenge for customers is that the technician installing a camera is typically not network-savvy. This auto-configuration will significantly reduce potential human errors. Once the cameras are installed, there's the ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting. This is where medianet plays an even bigger role.

Media monitoring is another key medianet capability. It provides great visibility and really improves troubleshooting and ongoing support for IT operators. Many of our customers report that it often takes them more time to identify the location of the problem than it does for them to fix it. Our media monitoring features can shorten this time considerably.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: We read with great interest that "The Media Services Proxy (MSP) IVT (Interoperability Verification Testing) program (called PLUGFEST) will be conducted during the ASIS event (on Sep 10-12, 2012) in Philadelphia". How can IP camera manufacturers participate?

Ulrica de Fort-Menares: First of all, you need to submit an application to become a member of the Cisco Developer Network if you're not already a member. Then you need to register for the MSP plugfest.

When you register, we'll ask you to provide the endpoint or camera model that you are planning to use for the interoperability testing. We'll also ask you to provide a PCAP file so that we can do some analysis for you before the event. Then just show up at the event with your cameras and let the interoperability testing begin. Detailed instructions can be found at the Cisco Developer Network site. (http://developer.cisco.com/web/msp/home)

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you again for joining us today, Ulrica. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?

Ulrica de Fort-Menares: Thanks. The medianet capabilities make our network and endpoints smarter, so you can feel more confident deploying video and making the transition to IP surveillance, by simplifying deployment and reducing TCO, while helping assure that your business-critical applications are not impacted.