At InfoComm 2017, one of the most discussed of the newer entrants into the exhibitor space was Cisco Systems. Some attendees told me that Cisco’s growing presence was a sign of the impending dominance of IT over AV. The company’s booth was among the largest at the show. When you study Cisco’s past, it’s hard not to wonder about what its commanding appearance will really mean for the professional AV industry. Will AV over IP become IP over AV?
Cisco has a history of entering new markets by way of acquisitions. In October, 1998, when they acquired Selsius Systems, an IP PBX and phone manufacturer, it spirited the VoIP revolution. Within 12 years they had shipped 30 million telephones. Also, it can be argued that they brought about the demise of Nortel, the major PBX vendor at the time. Since then, another major telephony manufacturer, Avaya has fought hard to compete, but they recently also showed signs of significant strain.