Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cisco's Open Collaboration Portfolio Integrates UC, TelePresence and WebEx

Cisco introduced a new collaboration portfolio that consists of Cisco Unified Communications, Cisco TelePresence and a new Web 2.0 application platform -- all of which are being integrated with business applications, existing IT infrastructures and other Web services.

"Collaboration is the next phase of the Internet, a phase that analysts see as a $34 billion market opportunity, and at the center of this phase is the network," said Don Proctor, senior vice president, software group, Cisco. "Our network platform uses open-standards protocols to expose critical collaboration services such as presence, instant messaging, call control and policy to a broad range of devices and applications. The Cisco collaboration portfolio uses this network architecture to create an integrated collaboration experience that encompasses everything from simple text messaging to immersive Cisco TelePresence sessions."

In a webcast product launch, Cisco executives said their goal is to leverage an open architecture and standards-based application programming interface (API) expose business application to the network as a platform. Key components of this portfolio include:

Unified Communications: Cisco Unified Communications System Release 7.0, featuring significant improvements in total cost of ownership by increasing Cisco Unified Presence scalability to 30,000 users and Cisco Unity to 15,000 users on a single server. Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator now supports devices running on Windows Mobile as well as Symbian and BlackBerry operating systems.

Video: Cisco TelePresence Expert on Demand integrates the immersive Cisco TelePresence experience into the contact center. This would enable customers to connect with subject-matter experts via an "in-person" experience. Users can summon expert assistance directly in a Cisco TelePresence meeting or use a dedicated Cisco TelePresence endpoint and get face-to-face assistance. For example, a retail bank could provide "in-person" services to bank customers in every location via Cisco TelePresence, while optimizing highly trained resources.

Web 2.0 Applications Platform: Cisco WebEx Connect, a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, integrates presence, instant messaging, Web meetings and team spaces with traditional and Web 2.0 business applications. Essentially, Cisco WebEx Connect is a cloud-based application platform for collaborative business mash-ups. It includes a number of standard applications such as enterprise instant messaging, team spaces, document management, calendaring and discussions, which can be combined with third-party widgets that are built using open APIs, enabling companies to work from a single workspace. Extensive administrative controls support enterprise policy, security and compliance requirements to enable secure inter-company collaboration.

Cisco listed a number of APIs that it is providing to support this open application environment, including:

  • Cisco Unified Applications Environment, to deliver Web applications to the Cisco Unified IP Phone screen

  • Cisco Applications eXchange Platform, to expose capabilities within the router to applications in branch offices

  • Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance 8.0(4), to provide an open network security appliance that allows businesses to extend their collaboration capabilities with a high degree of security via a converged data and voice virtual private network

  • Cisco WebEx Connect, to bring together business applications, Web tools and team workspaces.

See also