The idea behind the nomenclature change is to strengthen Cisco’s presence in the consumer mind with a single, five-letter brand.
As Cisco VP of consumer marketing Ken Wirt puts it: "Cisco’s profile with the consumer will be increased because there will be a bunch of boxes in their house with the Cisco logo on it that they interact with every day."
The networking company will also rebrand the Linksys line of home-networking gear, although Wirt said that will be a longer process than the changeover on the set-tops.
So can Cisco build itself up to become, say, anywhere close to a Sony?
Cisco is an absolute powerhouse household name in the service provider and corporate IT worlds. It’s not necessarily on the lips of everyday Joes as a sexy CE device maker.
Cisco is trying to establish a consumer brand. But even its mass-media "Human Network" campaign seems aimed more at business buyers than Best Buy buyers — more like IBM’s spots, less like Apple’s.
We’ll see what new tricks Cisco has up its sleeve as it tries to complete the triple back-flip into the consumer tech realm. Here’s one already on the 2011 calendar: the scheduled opening of Cisco Field, future home to the Oakland A’s.