Is Internet video the new killer app? Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) thinks so. And with its recently launched platform for integrated business video, Cisco is cultivating a first-mover advantage in what could be a $50 billion market opportunity.

The new platform includes digital signage, IP video surveillance, and desktop-video capabilities. With the ability to use video meetings, provide on-demand training, and let globally scattered teams collaborate, Cisco's platform will help businesses save money and increase productivity.

But is the world ready for video networking?

Given last week's announcements that United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAUA) and US Airways (NYSE:LCC) will follow American Airlines parent AMR's (NYSE:AMR) lead in charging passengers for checked baggage, maybe so. All of this nickel-and-diming in the wake of reduced capacity, coupled with declining service levels, has made airline travel costly and downright annoying for most business travelers.

That's where the videoconferencing solution comes in. Videoconferencing used to make me think of those old Godzilla movies, where the dialogue didn't quite sync with the actors' lips. But the medium has come a long way. Increased bandwidth, LCD and high-definition screens, and easy-to-use production tools from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) have now made videoconferencing a viable alternative to the face-to-face meeting.

Although Cisco has had video-networking capabilities in its arsenal for years, the concept has only recently begun to take off. In a business environment marked by increased globalization, tightened budgets, and "green" initiatives, Cisco may yet be rewarded for its patience and foresight.

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