Tony Bates, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Service Provider Group, appears in sunglasses as Network Commander Bates and warns players: "The future of the worldwide network is relying on you." Then they fly a sleek spacecraft, the back end of which looks surprisingly similar to an ASR1000.
Cisco's prerecorded launch event, which was repeated four times in 20 hours to reach people in different time zones, featured about half an hour of presentations by Chambers, other Cisco executives and customers. About 7,000 people participated, Webster said.
Questions were moderated, but by using the format, Cisco bravely opened itself up to a real-time dialog with users. "Is this all marketing talk or is he going to say something that makes sense?" wrote one viewer, who called himself Ryan. The moderator pointed Ryan to a Web page full of product specifications. But most questions were pointed and technical. The company clearly had found its audience.
"Is this router appropriate for an environment with multiple full BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) feeds?" one observer asked. Yes, Cisco replied, and provided a link to a page with test results.
The event came off smoothly but exposed at least one pitfall of the medium.
"Why is this product so loud?" one observer asked after a close-up shot of an ASR1000. "Is that the live noise from the fan?" another wrote.
"The noise may be enhanced due to the sensitive nature of the microphones used for the filming," Cisco replied.
"We think the audience can give us a little dramatic leeway for things like that," Webster said.