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Cisco Expands SMB Offerings

Video monitoring, managed network switches and IP phones are among the products and services the networking provider has introduced for small and midsize businesses.

Cisco Advanced Video Monitoring System
(click image for larger view)
Cisco Advanced Video Monitoring System
Cisco has announced an array of eight new products, including a new class of managed network switches, new IP phones and a new video monitoring service. The portfolio of new technologies and expanded services are aimed at helping small businesses drive productivity, manage costs and improve security, according to the company.

The new products include:

-- New video software and new cameras to help small businesses secure: Cisco Advanced Video Monitoring System (AVMS) software (MSRP starts at $1,000) provides high-quality monitoring, control and analytics of up to 64 cameras, for use in video surveillance. Two new IP cameras: the Cisco VC 220 Dome IP Video Camera (MSRP $794), for use in both bright and low light conditions, and the Cisco VC 240 Bullet IP Video Camera (MSRP $921), which includes weatherproof housing, suitable for use in outdoor environments.

-- Cisco 300 Series Managed Switches. Managed network switches offer features that improve the performance, security and flexibility of a company's network. Cisco's new C300 Series switches include enhanced quality of service (QoS) and security, ease of set-up, energy efficiency saving up to 74% on power, and support for IPv6. MSRP starts at $217; most models are available now.

-- New IP phones, to increase employee collaboration and productivity, including the Cisco SPA 300 series of entry-level IP phones (MSRP $83 to $125), supported with the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series and hosted IP telephony systems; and the Cisco SPA 525G2 IP Phone (MSRP $430), a wireless Bluetooth-enabled IP phone that allows for easy transfer of calls to and from a mobile phone. The phones include support for HD voice (wide-band audio).

-- Office Manager, a new desktop administration tool, available now as a free download, to let a small business office administrator or IT staff handle routine operational tasks for the Cisco Smart Business Communications System

"This broad portfolio of affordable, managed switches provide a powerful foundation to support your business network," according to Cisco.

"I believe that Cisco is following the example of consumer-oriented companies like Ben & Jerry's -- doing tons of research to understand the needs of new target markets -- here, small businesses -- and coming out with products to match those needs," said Steve Hilton, head of enterprise and small enterprise research, Analysys Mason. "Small businesses may individually make only comparatively small purchases, but collectively they represent a very sizeable market. VoIP, security and data networking are all essential technologies for small business needs, and Cisco is pursuing them."

Cisco has also enhanced its small business product warranties, making the subscription-based Cisco Small Business Support Service available across the entire Cisco Small Business portfolio, and Cisco has also enhanced the level of warranties for its Cisco Small Business routing, switching and wireless access point.

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