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Cisco Collaboration Vision: New Launch Enhances Market Position

Cisco's recent Tandberg acquisition announcement further underscored the company's evolving strategic focus on a communications medium that demands higher bandwidth and more applications-focused networks. Cisco announced its "medianet" strategy and concept late last year. It included a new suite of technologies designed for advanced communications, collaboration and entertainment through video and rich media-optimized service provider, business and home networks. The need for a medianet is driven by Cisco's belief that video and rich media will represent 90 percent of total network traffic. Several of today's announcements are highly or partially focused on video, including new IP phone, telepresence and social networking offers.

All of the Cisco Collaboration Solutions work towards achieving a set of objectives, such as building trust and accelerating decisions with rich, real-time Interactions; connecting the right people with the right information; improving team performance; collaborating with confidence across companies; and optimizing IT investments. In this context, according to John Chambers, CEO, Cisco, "collaboration will affect every industry. It will change service, sales, and business models. It will change the size, scope, and number of projects a company can take on. And it will change the speed of implementation." According to Cisco, companies that create a culture of collaboration will move ideas instead of people, reduce travel without sacrificing personal connections, improve decision making speed, work in environmentally sustainable ways and increase productivity on a global scale.

What I particularly like about the Cisco launch is that the overused term Unified Communications (UC) is not employed to describe or categorize any one product or service. It's a given that virtually all products from the same designer and developer should be "unified" in the sense of connectivity and/or interoperability. Several new Cisco products also help "unify" communications and collaboration solutions across multi-vendor networks and endpoints. Collaboration has a greater sense of meaning to customers that UC lacks, an important marketing objective most purveyors of so-called UC solutions sometimes forget. "Communications and collaboration" is a cleaner and more descriptive term of what customers need and want to do. "Unify" is a more technical term that individual system subscribers care little about when performing everyday work tasks. A subscriber is more apt to say they require communications or collaboration with other subscribers, but few (if any) would ever say they need to "unify."

Read Sulkin's full analysis at nojitter.com.