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Cisco To Pull Plug On Digital Signage?

We have hinted at this before and in private briefings have been a little more emphatic on what we perceive to be Cisco not getting what they want from the digital signage world. We firmly believe that Cisco are close to pulling the plug completely on their digital signage offering.

Undoubtedly they will couch whatever they announce (expect something soon) in different terms but signage for them can only be seen as an abject failure and far, far away from being the USD 1 billion a year business that they had hoped for AND indeed is the stretch goal for all new ‘divisions’ in their NBD empire in order to survive!

Cisco have won nothing of note in retail and haven’t even mounted anything resembling a credible assault on the outdoor media owners / advertising world and so have been left picking up the crumbs with a few Corporate Communications in-house type digital signage / Enterprise TV deployments.

The VAST majority of Cisco Digital Signage customers are universities using the product for campus communications and buying at 75% off of list price – hardly a price point or a sector where you will get good returns.

11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "Cisco To Pull Plug On Digital Signage?"

#1 Comment By Red On 22 April 2009 @ 13:22 @598

This wil be a correct statement of the current situation about coverage by Cisco in the signage market.

Never believed they are/were number 1 singage vendor in 2008…even not top10!

#2 Comment By Michael On 22 April 2009 @ 13:33 @606

It is too early for streaming, and clearly Internet streaming is where Cisco’s main interest lies (Pssst, wanna buy a router?. Streaming is both unreliable and uneconomical. In fact until it gets very cheap (and I mean *very*), streaming over the Internet will always be an inefficient way of getting repetitive content to a screen.

#3 Comment By Jerry On 22 April 2009 @ 14:06 @629

Hi Adrian,

your article is understandable and wouldn’t surprise any of us i’m affraid.
I’m not here to defend Cisco, or deny your statement but i was invited very recently by Cisco to come and see their upcoming new (beta) version, 6.0 to be released soon. So maybe this means we’re not just there yet?

Otherwise, appart from their clear lack of results, is there anything else (any news, story you heard of, …) hinting at an imminent retirement from the market?



#4 Comment By DS Expert On 22 April 2009 @ 15:39 @693

The Cisco strategy is to buy what they can not develop by itself. It’s exactly what they did with Tivella in order to come on the market with a DS solution. Unfortunately the platform wasn’t flexible enough to answer the needs of a demanding market such as the retail sector. Cisco is an excellent hardware/Services provider with a wide range of competencies and solutions but it still remains an IT provider without any kind of marketing & COM approach/strategy.

We see quite often that Marketing & IT do not speak the same language. How would you convience a MKT departement to adopt a DS solution by telling them that the DMP (Player of Cisco) has a 4Go Memory flash storage ?

I will just conclude by this: Cisco is now paying its wrong strategy and should stay where it is good at, meant the network

#5 Comment By DMSFAN On 22 April 2009 @ 18:59 @832

We are selling Cisco DMS with quite good results both in winning over other top 10 vendors + have a strong pipeline. Cisco has a very strong end to end offering and with their different video offerings and the media ready network customers avoid silo offerings which will be very important as multimedia evolves in enterprises. Thats why we have chosen to be a Cisco DMS partner. We are also selling to retailers and most retailers are facinated by fancy templates and advanced workflows where Cisco still has a clear lack (heard rumers that it will be changed heavily in the upcoming release), but the truth is often that in our region that most retailers outsources content production and content scheduling to 3. party and then dont need those advanced features. DS expert says 4 GB is a limit – maybe for some but most customers has a very little need for storage. I mean that it is important to focus on the long run strategy instead of features which really often not are used. When we are focusing on the core components and getting the clients to understand the facts about rolling out a Signage solution when we are not in problems competing with Cisco against other solutions.

#6 Comment By big facker On 22 April 2009 @ 19:51 @869

Adrian is wet…from pissing in the wind. The Cisco Halo effect on IT is driving large scale purchases of DMS with DS module. Not just universities but convention centers, real estate management and sports arenas…and at FULL price It’s the only module of DMS that is worthwhile PRINCIPALLY because of the DMP. The 4400 is a great non-pc solid state player that plays NON proprietary video and web content.

Cisco’s muscle results in firmware updates every six months and new hardware at a rate unmatched by smaller firms. To be sure, DMS is in their bleeding edge realm still…but it is WAY too early for them to bail on it….ESPECIALLY when Chambers announced in January that he’d be spending money on video acquisitiions.

Adrian needs a cure for his Jerry Yangism – fuck the giant for sport even at your own expense.

#7 Comment By Signage Observer On 22 April 2009 @ 20:42 @904

It is also interesting to not that Cisco Cisco digital signage has over 1000 customers since it’s launch in 2006.

You may read about their latest deal here:

Why on earth Cisco will come down on a business unit that is doing so well in 2 years.

#8 Comment By Steven Keith Platt, PRI On 22 April 2009 @ 21:24 @933

I am a big fan of the DailyDOOH. It is often the first thing I read in the morning, and I recommend it to those looking to stay on the leading-edge of the industry. Notwithstanding, in response to your posting, “Cisco to Pull Plug on Digital Signage?” rumblings of this sort, that are not grounded in fact, can only hurt the industry.

At PRI, we pride ourselves on our independence. We work with many outstanding software firms. For example, five of them are members of our Institute, to-wit: Cisco, Real Digital, Reflect Systems, Scala, and Symon Communications. Other software firms have sponsored our research, including BroadSign, DigitalView (EnQii), and Stratacache. In each instance we would seek to present the facts as we know them. That said, we’ve recently done work with Cisco that demonstrates their digital signage business is very much alive and well. For example, they recently sponsored our successful webinar, which included a great presentation by Harrods. We have also, as an independent firm, been presenting our bank research to various client prospects of Cisco. Furthermore, according to Cisco, they have publicly stated that “their year over year growth in the signage industry is well over 150%.”

These are not the actions of a firm that is about to abandon its position in the industry.

#9 Comment By MOE On 23 April 2009 @ 05:32 @272

Cisco is not exiting. Now is when resource rich companies thrive – hello! You also like to bash Harris – watch out for that resource rich company also

BTW – margins are much better and biz easier had in corp communications than DOOH

#10 Comment By Anonymous On 23 April 2009 @ 06:51 @327

Are you starting controversy to generate hits on your site to get paid from your advertisers?

Should we contact your advertisers for you to notify them what you’re doing?

#11 Comment By DS Expert On 23 April 2009 @ 08:53 @412


As far as I know, and even if I am not a big fan of the Cisco DMS solution, Cisco is still developing its DS platform with a coming-up 6.0 release and gives seminars and conferences about Digital Signage all around the world. However I haven’t seen them at ISE this year…

Everyone gave his opinion on your statement but the fundamental question remains: What’s the source of this controversed information ?