Cisco Systems announced an online publishing solution for business on Tuesday, allowing customers to manage and deliver live and on-demand digital media through the internet.

The new package allows for a wide variety of applications, the company said, setting the communication platform for communication, collaboration, education and sales. The move takes Cisco out of its traditional role as a network hardware provider, and into a market its never entered.

I'm pleased to see Cisco enter the digital media market, said Ira Weinstein, Senior Analyst and Partner for Wainhouse Research. Cisco's strong reputation within the enterprise, combined with its ability to address the entire digital media value chain from content creation to delivery, should help pave the way for the adoption of digital media communications within many organizations.

The software will feature a web-based interface and three key hardware components - a Media encoder to convert video to data that can be streamed, a media manager to publish and archive streams, and a video portal allowing users to browse and search through content.