Cisco aims to deliver communications as a service with new upgrades

Summary:Cisco extends its collaboration solutions suite for public, private and clouds as well as brings WebEx to private cloud environments.


Cisco is boosting its cloud-based collaboration solutions portfolio with with enhancements and additions for unified communications, web conferencing and telepresence.

Announced amid the Cisco Collaboration Summit in Los Angeles this week, this expanded set of products is targeted towards a variety of groups: enterprise customers as well as service providers and partners.

At the heart of the announcements is the expansion of Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution. Now with 34 partners worldwide in tow, Cisco is further touting the "as-a-service" cloud-based model for unified communications and collaboration resellers providers worldwide.

"We think communications can be delivered as a service," explained Murali Sitaram, general manager of Cisco's cloud collaboration applications technology group, during a media briefing last Thursday, adding that this can be done through a scalable model so there isn't just one instance per customer.

Some of the enhancements include:

  • On-demand telepresence meetings (versus a reservation system)
  • Fixed Mobile Convergence capabilities (operators can provide voice over 4G data networks)
  • Integration with Cisco Jabber and the option to bring third-party phones into the Cisco UC environment
  • A customizable dashboard for call center agents with relevant information designed to enable them to assist callers faster with greater accuracy.

Cisco asserts that all of these upgrades have been developed with the intention of enabling customers to be able deploy these hosted collaboration offerings quickly at a minimal cost. These hosted offerings can be delivered through public, private or hybrid cloud models.

The second major announcement is the release of the Cisco WebEx Meetings Server for private cloud environments.

Essentially, this is WebEx designed for businesses that want (or still need) an on-premise solution but want to enable web conferencing and other UC solutions for its employees across multiple devices and operating systems. Enterprise customers will have full control of all conferencing behind their own firewalls with this private option.

Nevertheless, this version of WebEx is intended to provide the same user experience as the public cloud version. More succintly, Sitaram described this new edition as "WebEx in a box."


Both the upgraded Hosted Collaboration Solution and the WebEx Meetings Server are expected to roll out worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Screenshots via Cisco

Topics: Cisco, Cloud, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Networking


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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