Cisco on Wednesday rolled out its collaboration portfolio as it targets the enterprise market--and notably the Microsoft SharePoint juggernaut.
At least Cisco isn't alone--Oracle earlier this week unveiled Beehive, which is another collaboration effort. Oracle wouldn't say that Beehive is a direct competitor to SharePoint, but it certainly looks that way. Oracle is looking to occupy the space between SharePoint and Lotus Sametime from IBM.
Cisco's effort (statement) is a little different, but the goal is the same: Target the $34 billion collaboration market. That market essentially includes unified communications, telepresence, Web meetings and other technologies that can save you dough on travel and other expenses. It all falls under the broad "Enterprise 2.0" umbrella as big vendors aim to combine common Web applications and business systems. Cisco has been acquiring companies like Jabber and PostPath as it rounds out its collaboration portfolio.
Cisco's collaboration lineup, available in early 2009, includes:
Cisco's Unified Communications System Release 7.0 (right), which combines telephony options. The 7.0 release integrates better with IBM and Microsoft desktop software and supports Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry operating systems on the go. Dan Farber notes that Cisco doesn't plan to support Android at the moment.
Cisco Telepresence, which is arguably the company's hottest product right now. The linchpin here is something Cisco dubs TelePresence Expert on Demand, which aims to combine unified communications, call centers and telepresence. As an example, Cisco said that a retail bank could provide personal service to bank customers even if the attendant wasn't there.
And Cisco WebEx Connect (below), a software as a service effort that ties instant messaging, Web meetings and other Web 2.0 applications.
Cisco is also providing various application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow companies to create mashups with external and internal software. Cisco's mashup comments are another data point in a broad move to adopt more consumer technologies into the enterprise and connect them to internal information.
Here's a video of Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby talking about how the company deploys collaboration tools internally.