Optus Business integrates Cisco's Spark, Meraki, contact centre solutions

Cisco and Optus Business have announced a set of cloud technologies for government and enterprise customers, including Spark, Meraki, video conferencing as a service, and contact centre as a service.

Optus Business and Cisco have launched a series of cloud, collaboration, and infrastructure technologies for the purposes of creating a "smart workplace" for government and enterprise customers.

Under the partnership, announced at Cisco Live in Melbourne on Tuesday, Optus will be integrating Cisco's Spark tool for collaboration, which can now be managed end to end by Optus Business through Optus' unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution; and Cisco's Meraki cloud management system.

The two companies will also develop and implement a contact-centre-as-a-service solution, including an interactive voice response system; and a video-conferencing-as-a-service (VCaaS) solution for Optus Business to create a hosted video-conferencing bridge service for use with Cisco's Jabber software.

The additions follow Optus Business adding cybersecurity prevention, detection, and monitoring capabilities to its managed security services portfolio in September.

"The new services and technologies we have launched with Cisco are designed for the workplace of the future, enabling organisations to re-imagine the way they work, empower users to be more productive, engage with customers in new ways, increase teamwork and efficiencies, and reduce cost and complexity," said Optus Business MD John Paitaridis.

"Whether it's applications, security, cloud, collaboration, or networks, customers want partners who understand this spectrum of managed technology and services," Cisco Systems Australia and New Zealand VP Ken Boal added.

Cisco and Optus Business also announced that they will be focusing on three projects following their AU$12 million three-year co-investment last year: Cloud orchestration; vocational education and training programs; and smart campuses.

Optus last week also announced completing live trials of Cisco's Jasper narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology across its core network, with the wireless low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) trial seeing Cisco integrate Jasper, a cloud-based IoT platform, to support NB-IoT technology on Optus' 4G network.

"Optus sees the evolution of LTE technology to support dedicated IoT networks as a critical step towards mass adoption of IoT solutions by both enterprise and consumers," said Allan Burdekin, head of Optus' NCSi Incorporating Safe and Smart Cities business arm.

"Incorporating Cisco Jasper into our NB-IoT plans allows us to provide a consistent user experience to our customers across both traditional cellular and NB-IoT, all on a single platform."

Jasper is now partnered with over 50 service providers globally and manages IoT devices on more than 550 mobile networks across the world.

Cisco's $1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper was aimed at enabling enterprises to put connected products on mobile networks to take the complexity out of IoT, head of IoT Strategy for Cisco Jasper Macario Namie told ZDNet last year.

Jasper supplies the cloud-based software-as-a-service control centre that sits between mobile providers and enterprise customers wanting IoT connected solutions, with the control centre providing access via either the web or application programming interfaces (APIs) to control turning the service on, rate plans that customers are assigned to, the policies involved, usage monitoring, reporting, and fraud controls.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has previously said the acquisition of Jasper was "critically important" to the networking giant's overarching strategy.

"Jasper is such a great fit for us, because it is a technology that we acquired, but it's one that we partner with the service provider to actually drive that connectivity, and we're looking at how we not only provide value to the enterprise by giving them the ability to leverage that data into their applications and make decisions, but we're also at the same time looking at how do we provide more services for the service provider to offer on top of that platform," the chief executive said in July last year.

Cisco is also working with Optus' rival telecommunications provider Telstra on digitisation, including through its Spark collaboration tool, and with their software-defined networking and network function virtualisation products and their hybrid software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solution.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Cisco Live in Melbourne as a guest of Cisco

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