Cisco Introduces Offerings in Collaboration Space

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 10, 2009

Cisco has announced the introduction of new products and enhancements to its current line of offerings in its collaboration portfolio. The latest entrants in this portfolio are Cisco’s enterprise social software and WebEx Mail.

The company has introduced enhancements to its TelePresence, Unified Communications and WebEx solutions so that companies that collaborate more effectively irrespective of their geographical locations. Kara Wilson, VP - Collaboration Solutions, stressed on the fact that video-voice communication is a winning prospect over the contemporary text-based communication approach. Apart from the cost benefits that can be realised through less travel, the features that each of the unified communications, mail, messaging and presence tools have to offer, will enable businesses to work in a more efficient manner. Cisco attributed this to their study that people unconsciously pay more attention to visual and audio cues rather than written content in a presentation.

The company agreed that social media as a platform for communication can not be ignored any more. However, since this space comes with its own security concerns, it is offering its own enterprise social software like Cisco Show and Share and its Enterprise Collaboration Platform. This provides employees with a social networking platform as well as a safer environment to collaborate in.

On the mail and messaging front, Cisco has introduced WebEx Mail, which is an enterprise-level hosted e-mail solution which offers interoperability with Micrsoft Outlook. The solution is also optimised to be accessed on a range of mobile devices, and browser independent AJAX Web 2.0 access. This offering is a result of its acquisition of PostPath. Minhaj Zia, national sales manager, Unified Communications (India and SAARC) said a hosted mail solution is a much more cost effective option since it brings down the current expense of creating and maintaining each user account today (approx. U.S. $35 per user). Currently, the service is being offered in the U.S. and Canada. Within a year’s time this service is expected to be rolled out in India as well.

With the acquisition of Jabber, Cisco has also included support for the XMPP protocol (used by Jabber instant messengers). This has resulted in the ability to provide secure, federated presence across its collaboration portfolio. Any employee using an IM that supports the XMPP protocol can configure his IM so as to be available in the collaboration network. This has been achieved with WebEx Connect Instant Messaging and Unified Presence 8.0. Support for clients like Microsoft’s Office Communicator is also supported.

Cisco has also devised ways to integrate each of these offerings by developing an Intercompany Cisco TelePresence Directory, which is a listing of endpoints, people and organisations that have access to Cisco TP. TelePresence WebEx Engage is an interesting feature where a Cisco TP user can easily initiate a session with a WebEx conference user. The integration broadens the scope of its collaboration capabilities.

Additionally, Cisco’s Intercompany Media Engine uses the Experience Engine 3500/5600 to provide real-time video transcoding so that any content can be viewed on any end-point device. Cisco Pulse is another new piece of hardware from Cisco which performs dynamic tagging of content. It allows people to locate and connect to experts based on the tags.

Cisco also introduced new unified IP phones which offer a HD voice and full VGA colour displays. Apart from offering Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, the devices are claimed to be made from recyclable plastics and also designed to power-efficient.