Cisco is breaking social media ground yet again with it's new VNI PC Pulse application. I happen to work with one of the masterminds (Thomas Barnett) behind this application so I was able to talk him into an interview to give other social media enthusiasts a back stage view of what went it's creation.
Can you give me a brief description of the new Cisco VNI PC Pulse application?
>> Thomas: Cisco has created a free application to show users how much network bandwidth they consume and the types of applications they use. This application shows users the amount and types of traffic that flow to and from their computer and provides aggregated network usage proof points of all global users of this application for comparison purposes.
This is a great idea, how did you come up with it? What is the benefit to the end user?
>> Thomas: As part of our Visual Networking Index (VNI) initiative, we are interested in activities that can help provide qualitative views of network-based consumer video usage patterns and trends. Cisco has sponsored and will continue to explore consumer preferences and perspectives through surveys/questionnaires (see Cisco VNI Pulse political survey and Initial Cisco VNI Pulse consumer survey). A natural extension of our direct engagement with consumers was to offer a free utility application to develop a deeper understanding of consumer video behaviors and attitudes on a global scale. End users can gain a better understanding of their personal PC use and compare their bandwidth consumption with the aggregate average of others worldwide. They can compare their personal historical bandwidth usage stats (i.e., personal high, personal average, personal low) against WW stats (world high, world average, world low). The application measures LAN and Wi-Fi connections.
What have you learned since the application has been available?
>> Thomas: Data retrieved through the Cisco VNI Pulse application showed that on January 20, 2009 (the day of the U.S. inaugural festivities)individual users downloaded more than twice the amount of data they do during a normal day, at 322 MB vs. a typical average of 159 MB. Doug Webster, a marketing executive with Cisco, speculates that many people had the inaugural festivities streaming in the background while they did other things
Are there any social elements of the application? Thomas' Response: At this point, the ability to compare personal bandwidth usage against world stats is the primary social feature. Users could also compare their usage directly with family, friends and colleagues that choose to use the application. Cisco plans to develop a interactive web page in later in 2009 that will provide additional social networking elements.
What is the main objective of the application and how are you measuring your success?
>> Thomas: By using the Cisco VNI PC Pulse application, consumers will gain a better understanding of their online preferences and needs. The aggregate data will help Cisco build a better understanding of what we all demand from our networks. Data from this application will be shared publicly on a quarterly basis. We will measure our success the number of global users we are able to attract and the quality of new and insightful findings that we are able to share with the telecommunications industry and others interested in IP networking consumer trends.
What future apps can we expect from Cisco?
>> Thomas: We have developed a new mobile application that is currently available for iPhone users and will soon be available for Blackberry users as well. The Cisco Global Internet Speed Test (GIST) for iPhone application is publicly available via the Apple iPhone App Store in iTunes (http://www.apple.com/iphone/appstore/).