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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cisco Enhances its Unified Communications Portfolio

Cisco has announced several new improvements to its collaboration portfolio, showcasing its growth in cloud collaboration. Included in its new offerings are Telepresence, web conferencing, UC, and contact center solutions, which are delivered via public, private, or hybrid cloud models.
As part of the enhancements, Cisco is expanding its Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) to include advancements in many of its features. From TelePresence and Customer Collaboration to Unified Communications, Cisco is providing its partners and customers with a more robust UC experience as an "as-a-service" cloud-based model.
Furthermore, the Cisco WebEx Web Conferencing has been extended to the private cloud, as per the increased demand from its customers, providing the same collaboration capabilities and user experience that they're used to.
Cisco CloudVerse, Cisco's set of solutions for building and managing clouds, continues to improve and advance, helpinb businesses reap the benefits of the cloud, providing an integrated collaboration experience with improved agility and security.
"Cisco is taking advantage of its dominance in network connectivity to push cloud-based communications, through both public services from leading service providers/carriers, as well as aiming at private and hybrid cloud applications that can be customized by channel partners that have the skills to do so," says Art Rosenberg, UC Expert at UCStrategies. "Although it is becoming clear that UC-enabled applications can be most efficiently implemented, supported, and managed in a cloud environment, rather than physically on premise-based equipment, the migration to cloud-based applications will require hybrid approaches and integrations with existing communication applications. Cisco's approach to its cloud infrastructure, however, is flexible enough to cover a variety of end user needs, including providing the cloud integration expertise through their partners that IT organizations don't have."
Rosenberg adds: "Cisco's announcement was quite comprehensive, in terms of the functional communication tools and the flexibility of cloud implementation options, and will be a significant challenge to competitors in the business communications market. A key strategy here, of course, is to exploit their many channel partners to take on the responsibilities for helping customers migrate to customized cloud applications and services. Anyone with competing technologies will have to do the same, so the battle for new channel partners is on!
"Although Cisco has put the 'collaboration' label on their new offering, Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), the functional emphasis is on person-to-person business contacts and interactions. That includes mobile UC capabilities, as well as contact center customer interactions. What I didn't see (yet), is the role that Cisco’s cloud services will play in supporting UC-enabled online applications for multi-modal mobile users, as well as CEBP process-to-person contacts for time-sensitive alerts and notifications. As I have stressed in the past, these will be particularly important as consumers/customers increasingly use smartphones and tablets to give or get personalized information and messages directly with automated business applications, not necessarily through people. UC-enablement, however, will allow click-to-connect contextually with people, when necessary."

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