Cisco Introduces Unified Workspace

Though there was no official press announcement, Cisco executives introduced the concept of the “unified workspace” at the 2012 Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego this week.

The Unified Workspace is not a product as much as it is a framework or collection of
Cisco technologies including its virtual desktop, BYOD and intelligent network solutions.

Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, in her keynote remarks, said the Unified Workspace is necessitated by the change in “work” being a place we go to something we do, regardless where we are. “In the future we will not go to work, we will simply do work, which means we have to create a new workspace. It is not a workplace anymore,” she said.

The resulting challenges for  IT departments are management and security, which Unified Workspace seeks to resolve, she said.

“We have unified the network. We have clearly unified communications in a fabulous way… . We have unified compute. We have unified fabric. And now, we have an opportunity to unify the workspace,” said Wendy Bahr, senior vice president of Cisco’s Global and Transformational Partner Organization, in her address at the Partner Summit.

Bahr explained the Unified Workspace starts with the concept of creating “smart solutions.” In particular, she pointed to two:

“The secret sauce what makes it all possible  is the intelligent network,” Bahr said, adding that’s where the policy, management and security come together.

In a related move, supporting its BYOD and collaborative workspace initiatives, Cisco also announced at the Partner Summit that it is making the Cisco Jabber client and its presence and instant messaging (IM) capabilities available to Cisco Unified Communications Manager customers at no additional license cost. Jabber works across devices, including Windows, Mac, iPad, Cisco Cius, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android (later in 2012).

The idea is for Cisco partners to then upsell customers on licenses for more advanced collaboration capabilities like voice and video. Cisco Jabber provides a single interface across presence, IM, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing.

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