Adds AI, cloud, as-a-service capabilities to expanding portfolio
Cisco continues to enhance its collaboration portfolio, with new enhancements that will mean more options for customers and more opportunities for revenue growth for partners.
The Lowdown: At the company’s Partner Summit this month, Cisco unveiled offerings that touch on artificial intelligence (AI), the cloud, and the ability to buy technology as a service.
The Details: The five enhancements announced at the show are:
> Single Platform Advantage: Through the initiative, organizations will be able to run all their collaboration workloads – including calling, messaging, meeting, devices, and contact center – through a single platform, regardless of whether they’re on mobile or desktop devices. Included are edge and hybrid cloud services, cognitive collaboration for context and intelligence, security and compliance, analytics, and management. Cisco also has a new application that unifies its various call, message, and meeting tools.
> Cloud calling: Cisco’s Webex Edge for Calling offerings enable organizations to leverage Webex cloud services on top of their existing on-premises Cisco and third-party PBX setups. Through its Webex Calling cloud, the company is offering more options for public phone switching connectivity to the cloud. Cisco’s new Unified Communications Manager Cloud enables organizations to more easily manage their communications in the Webex cloud.
> More AI: Webex Desk Pro is a 27-inch device with a 4K touchscreen, a USB-C connection, and the ability to work with any conferencing service, not just Webex. It will recognize users and greet them by name. Webex Room Panorama brings immersive telepresence capabilities from the boardroom to regular rooms, with AI-powered capabilities like facial recognition that comes with name and title labels.
> Cisco Headset 700 series: A lineup of Bluetooth headsets that can pair with any Cisco device. Preferences can be set via a mobile app and IT can manage them through Control Hub. Also, they’re protected against malware and are integrated with the vendor’s collaboration app and devices.
> New consumption model: Organizations can get Cisco’s phones, as well as the desk- and room-size video systems, as a service.
Background: Cisco has accelerated the innovation in its collaboration business under Amy Chang, who last year was named executive vice president and general manager of the unit. At the same time, the tech vendor has brought in capabilities via acquisitions, including Voicea, in September. Voicea added to the AI capabilities Cisco can add to its collaboration tools and is part of the vendor’s larger Cognitive Collaboration effort to put more intelligence and context into collaboration. The initiative was unveiled in March.
The Buzz: “For CIOs, giving employees amazing collaboration experiences shouldn’t be hard. They should be able to give them the best collaboration tools on the planet. And tools should be super-secure and simple to manage,” Chang said. “The good news is that we’re listening, and we’ve tapped into our deep engineering know-how to deliver just that. All cloud? All on prem? Hybrid? It shouldn’t matter. We’ve got it.”