In May this year, Cisco acquired the steel division of Flip Video, which today is the first device that the company will market the common user in mind. Cisco is best known for its areas of enterprise networks and telepresence technology, but now also bet by consumer products, such as Flip. The creator of this gadget is considered one of the most influential people on the web, Jonathan Kaplan, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Consumer Products. The device has had great success in the U.S., which has sold over two million since its inception and now Mexico becomes the first Latin American country where it is available. This is a handheld video camera with dimensions of only 4″ by 2″ by 0.6″ and weighing 93.6 g, has an anti-glare screen 1.5″ touch-sensitive buttons, rechargeable, lasting at least two hours, depending on the model and can record up to 60 minutes of video. Besides its size, the novelty of Flip is the ability to capture and share videos instantly through a USB-down when users are ready to download your video directly to your PC or Mac, without the need for any cable. Flip comes preloaded with software FlipShare to edit, organize, make films with music and then share the videos via email or upload to sites like YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. In Mexico are for sale two models MinoHD Flip Mino and Flip, the first at an average price of 2 thousand 500 pesos and high definition 3 thousand dollars, and both can get high definition pictures with image freeze tool. It expects users to record personal videos for fun and that the device will open new options for low cost advertising on sites like YouTube, which offers a framework through which advertisers create their business and only pay if a surfer clicks on your video.
What’s meant to be named one of the 25 most influential men in the world of internet in Time magazine?
At the time that Time wrote that it was for Flip, but I have experience as a magazine editor in New York and then had other businesses that were sold as Sega.
What are your goals within Cisco?
In our group we have several consumption outbreaks, the first is changing the way that the user consumes the video and then how they use the networks, we believe that combining the video with Internet creates a very powerful alliance, so my team is responsible for creating products that can truly change the way people live, work and learn.
What is the novelty of Flip?
Flip will help drive the video to a mass market, we created a device that is simple, you can record by pressing a button and is very easy to share the video on any computer with our special software, included with the product.
What is new is that I can take video and a second later taken into the computer, send it by mail in a very simple way, put it on MySpace and YouTube quickly, or freeze frame to find a good photograph, you make a film or postcard with the various issues that have preloaded, such as Christmas or holidays, fun and easy way: for that is designed Flip, unlike the camcorders of the past, involving time and use the cable.
Currently, Flip is available only in USA, Germany, France and Mexico, and the product is manufactured in China and their price is similar to the United States. We want to enter and worldwide.
What are your expectations in Mexico?
We think the combination of low cost and high quality will revolutionize the video, so we brought it and we are excited to be in Mexico, after our success in the U.S. now we want to carry that success to other countries around the world.
Mexico is one of the first four countries to bring Flip, because we believe it is a great opportunity. A product like Flip can reach the Mexican community because we all have wonderful memories, moreover, by the penetration of the Internet and Cisco has had experience in Mexico, we think it will be very successful.
Mexico represents 25% of the U.S. market, so I think we’ll have a great success, we’re fortunate to launch the product this season, and look forward to many happy customers this year and next.
What consumers want in this type of device?
The Mexicans, like other consumers in Latin America and elsewhere, the first thing they want is an experience like it, and believe that what makes Flip unlike many other consumer electronics companies that we aim create products that draw the attention of the user to make it really easy to relate the experience with the device, the Mexicans are very passionate in his life, like to record and share things, like taking pictures and Flip is the kind of product that helps to enjoy life even more because they can record their videos and share them with friends, family or partners, is a great tool for areas like education and for many sectors.
How has the response of consumers to the product in other parts of the world?
We do not know what great things can create consumers. For example, celebrities love the Flip because they have the opportunity to be the photographers and usually always take pictures with them and now they can turn it around and make videos, we found many people who love the concept of Flip, is a tool that can make things really interesting, and Mexico is a great country for this product. Flip camcorder, which has been ranked first among the fastest selling U.S. and has sold millions of units in the last two years.
What are future plans for the device?
The idea is to make it more fun and also make it cheaper, because although the price is 3 thousand dollars, we believe we can lower it further, because we would like each family in Mexico has one and that its availability is not a problem at all we want to be able to record longer video. In the United States already have one that is able to record two hours, we also hope to bring to Mexico. There also have different colors and designs that soon will bring, we will try to make larger screens so you can share the video without a TV or computer screen because today is very small, and the idea is that they can enjoy the video on that screen. Today it is only to review the video, but you can not show it to five people at that size, we believe that we will have many more features while retaining the simplicity of the product, its elegance, its low price.
On the difference between the models, one is high-definition format that has a 16 “, is a very high quality with stereo sound, is a bit more expensive. The other also has high quality, but is smaller. In the end the difference is the quality and cost, but has the same options and the same software.
Are you planning to include more applications in the software?
Yes, we will include some features, but we feel that the applications you have are all the consumer needs. We do not want to make very complicated functions, because that remains fun to the consumer. Other electronics companies believe they include many features in a product gives value, but Cisco wants to offer a friendly device, think about what applications will really benefit the consumer and I think we did a good job in that regard, although there are always things new to share videos, and add voice or to incorporate it into the telepresence application video call, because in the end the idea is to combine the video with the networks. Maybe Flip Wireless will be one day to take video and immediately taken into the computer without connecting.
Cisco How do you see the power of video?
I think the video will replace more photos, YouTube is an interesting case, because everybody can be famous, it’s a new way to distribute video and that’s very attractive, because many people have something to share, has a story to tell, something that is important to them and want to communicate with many people. YouTube is a great platform to do that, but you can also flip a video and share it only with your family, anyone can make a video because a product is not complicated and can be a famous director, upload the video and become the next Spielberg. For example, in schools is a great tool, some people have thousands of fans on YouTube.
How does the future of video?
The future is communication, the sharing, combining the video with the voice, ie pick up a telephone and that both have telepresence, is to create connections in the world that never existed before, will be somewhere between the same room and talk on the phone and see the expressions of people, perhaps in 10 years, the video will be the main form of user communication and are working very hard to make it reality.
What are your plans within Cisco?
I’m responsible for all consumer products, both video and networking. I have a very solid team that helps me create new products, but for now I invite people to try the product that is already available in stores such as Liverpool and Office Depot, also we have the Flip Web site in Spanish, designed exclusively for Mexico.
Reference: El Universal, México.