Cisco Provides Partner Opportunities in Collaboration Market

At the Cisco Partner Summit this week in Boston, Cisco Systems will be announcing new programs, packages and products that will enable its channel partners to participate in the $34 billion collaboration market. To help partners capture this market opportunity, Cisco is introducing new cost-effective and energy-efficient IP telephony endpoints, expanded opportunities for partners to sell Cisco TelePresence systems, and new Cisco collaboration and unified communications solutions and licensing options.

The new Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series is designed for budget-constrained deployments yet offers choice in both color and handset styles, along with energy-efficient engineering that offers power savings of up to 50 percent when in deep-sleep mode. The new 6900 Series enables partners to sell Cisco Unified Communications solutions in global markets where customer preferences require a greater choice of options and green solutions at an attractive price, the company said.

“Our customers want to maximize their technology investment,” said Kevin Demers, senior manager – Unified Communications Solutions Practice at CDW. “The new Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series helps by offering affordable access to Cisco Unified Communications. There is a great interest in eco-friendly options as well, so the deep-sleep power capability should appeal to many customers.”

Cisco is introducing Cisco Unified Videoconferencing 7.0, a new video platform that is designed for high-definition multiparty video conferencing. The Multipoint Control Unit will enable partners to deploy HD video across the Cisco collaboration portfolio. “The any-to-any video we’ve announced with this is breakthrough and industry leading,” said Richard McLeod, senior director for collaboration solutions for worldwide channels at Cisco, explaining the platform allows for interoperability between Cisco platforms, other manufacturer’s platforms and even legacy video.

Cisco also announced a new pilot program that enables Cisco Advanced Unified Communications Specialized Partners to sell one-screen Cisco TelePresence Systems, including the personal Cisco TelePresence System 500, two-person Cisco TelePresence System 1000 and the recently announced Cisco TelePresence System 1300 for multipurpose rooms. The program of training and enablement will roll out as a pilot, first in the United States and then in Europe, converting to a formal program in 2010.

Additionally, Cisco announced general availability of the Cisco WebEx authorization for Cisco Express (SMB-focused) Unified Communications Specialized Partners in the United States and Canada, as well as Express and Advanced Unified Communications Specialized Partners in Europe. This offering, in addition to the Cisco Unified Communications Specializations, is designed for quick adoption and partner profit and allows qualifying Cisco Unified Communications Specialized Partners to sell Cisco WebEx SaaS collaboration solution.

Cisco Unified Communications channel partners can uncover new sales opportunities with the new Cisco Unified Workspace Licensing Entry Edition, a bundled offering designed for customers who require pure dial-tone capabilities and basic mobility. With this new offering, partners have a targeted solution for customers in emerging markets where mobile phones are pervasive.

Cisco is presenting opportunities for partners and customers to collaborate with the introduction of the Collaboration User Group, a virtual, interactive community for Cisco Unified Communications, TelePresence and WebEx customers to tap into best practices, gain early access to new product and solution releases, influence roadmaps and directly engage Cisco executives and technical experts. Cisco also is launching the Collaboration Partner Community, a virtual, interactive community for Cisco Collaboration partners to get direct access to Cisco experts and peers, answers and advice in discussion forums, and tools and best practices.

“Today’s business environment is accelerating the demand for collaboration solutions to reduce travel, improve productivity and reduce expenses,” said McLeod. “As we enter the upturn, globalization, consolidation and innovation will emerge as the major business imperatives with collaboration as the key enabler. Cisco and our partners are uniquely positioned to meet those needs.”

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