You might be saying, "Do we need another social-networking platform?" You (and perhaps your company) are probably already comfortably entrenched in Facebook or LinkedIn or MySpace. Heck, even Windows IT Pro has its own accounts at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (log in, select the Search Groups option from the pull-down menu, and use “Windows IT Pro” as your search term). Now, Cisco is offering its Entertainment Operating System (Eos) platform, targeted at media and entertainment companies interested in growing online communities around their content.

At Windows IT Pro, we're finding increasing benefits in the community we've built around our content, and these social-networking sites are just one way that we keep in touch with our readers and hear about their needs. Other small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) are deriving similar benefits from the likes of LinkedIn. These developments also point to the overriding sense that the distinction between work and play is blurring.

So, what does Cisco's social networking platform Eos offer the SMB? By delivering the Eos platform as a software-as-a-service (SAAS) product, Cisco says media companies can focus their limited resources on building compelling consumer experiences, rather than on the cost and complexity of building and maintaining their own Web platform. For SMB owners, this announcement should serve as another signal that social networking, primarily social networks that serve to enhance your customers’ experience, is essential.

"Cisco believes that the network is the platform for a new generation of compelling consumer experiences that are more social, personal, and visual," Dan Scheinman, Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager of media solutions, said. "Cisco Eos leverages the power of the human network and enables media and entertainment companies to complement other online channels with an interactive, community-driven experience in their own branding.”

Here's some video of Scheinman talking about Cisco EOS.