Cisco: Hosted Collaboration Will Be Significant Part of Business in Future

Cisco Systems collaboration business is seeing increased traction, especially among service providers, and the company promises big news in the space come November.

Customer collaboration is a big area, especially with the integration of contact center technology with social media and giving entities the ability to proactively monitor social networks and respond to trends they see emerging,” said Steve Slattery, vice president and general manager of Unified Communications at Cisco.

But its the companys Hosted Collaboration Solution that has grown legs since its debut in June, Slattery said. Its a pretty exciting program and the interest from service providers is amazing. They have been attracted to the solution because its different from what historically has been offered, like IP Centrex.”

Managed services providers, too, have taken an interest in the Hosted Collaboration Solution, he said. There is a definite opportunity for them,” he said. The demarkation is where you put the equipment at the service provider site or the MSP site. It really doesnt matter.”

Cisco has seen such success so far with Hosted Collaboration Solution that Slattery expects it and other hosting solutions to make up one-third of his groups business in the future. From us you will see a continuing evolution in terms of our hosted offerings and being able to go more cost-effectively into smaller segments of the market,” he said.

Those expectations may be met as early as November, when the company plans a major collaboration launch, where it will be announcing many new products and capabilities.

Video, too, may be on the list of product upgrades as the company works hard to shift the way people think about communicating.

We have a tagline that says, video is the new voice, and we are committed to making video the de facto mode of communication between person to person,” Slattery noted. We want to change the paradigm to where normal calling is via video.”

No doubt Cisco also will be making updates to its Cius unified communications solution, which is similar in design to Avayas Flare Experience, which it announced yesterday. The Cisco Cius features a 7-inch touch-sensitive tablet device, enabling unified communications from any location with an IP or Wi-Fi connection. On the surface, both Cius and Flare share many of the same features that enable a true unified communications experience.

The Cius was initiated from customer comments about not using their IP desktop phones because theyre using softpoints and their mobile devices,” Slattery said. Interest in Cius has really been overwhelming I have never seen a product drive so much interest and it has really caught their fancy. The usage cases are well beyond what we originally envisioned.

Its great to see Avaya in this space now, because it lends credibility to the segment,” he added. But we have much more compelling applications, and that and the user experience are what sets [Cius] apart.”

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