Cisco's new collaboration tool is all about interoperability

Cisco Meeting Server, the first product to come out of Cisco's acquisition of Acano, connects people in Cisco video rooms with others using Skype for Business.

Cisco on Monday rolled out Cisco Meeting Server, the first collaboration tool to come out of its acquisition of conferencing software maker Acano.

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As expected, the partnership with Acano is helping Cisco offer more interoperability, with Microsoft and other vendors "whose technology hasn't always played well with others", according to Rowan Trollope, GM of Cisco's Internet of Things (IoT) and applications groups.

Cisco Meeting Server allows people in Cisco video rooms to easily connect with others using Skype for Business, or even gear from competitors like Polycom or Avaya.

"Just as you don't think twice about whether an iPhone can call a Samsung Galaxy, enterprises need to know that everyone can join the meeting," Trollope said in a statement.

Along with promising interoperability, the new tool enables scaling video usage from the desktop to conference rooms and mobile devices. While video conferencing with multiple offices can sometimes lead to high bandwidth bills, Cisco says the Meeting Server reduces those costs by optimizing bandwidth between sites. It's being offered through a user-based licensing model.

Cisco has made a concerted effort in the past year to expand its offerings in collaboration. Earlier this year, it acquired Synata to boost search tools for its Spark application. Cisco also recently purchased Collaborate.com, Assemblage, and Tropo.