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September 24, 2008

Cisco sets sights on collaboration market

Cisco has unleashed a collaboration portfolio of unified comms, video and Web 2.0 apps designed to bring it head to head with IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.

By Janine Milne

The first of three main elements to the portfolio is Cisco Unified Communications Release 7.0, with improvements to total cost of ownership, usability and interoperability. On the video side, Cisco has integrated its existing high-end video-conferencing offering, TelePresence, with its Expert on Demand offering.  In practice, this means that if, for example, your bank branch can’t answer your query, you can be linked to an expert through a video-conference session.

The third strand to the portfolio is the launch of a software-as-service (SaaS) platform, WebEx Connect, which follows the acquisition of WebEx conferencing company last year. This integrates web meetings, instant messaging and team spaces with web 2.0 apps.

“Collaboration is the next phase of the Internet, a phase analysts see as a $34bn market opportunity, and at the centre of this phase is the network,” said Don Proctor, senior vice president, software group, Cisco.

The portfolio is designed to integrate with existing business applications and web services and as they are built on an open architecture with standards based application programming interfaces (APIs), they are easily customisable by developers. This openness means they can create collaborative mashups with public web tools or link with corporate applications such as CRM and ERP.

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