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Cisco Quad Collaboration

Cisco Systems has announced Cisco Quad, an enterprise collaboration platform that combines video, voice, e-mail and social networking technology. Quad is one of a trio of announcements from the network equipment vendor intended to give Cisco a greater presence in front of the computer rather than just behind the screens. Later this year, Cisco will offer WebEx Connect IM version 6.5, its video conferencing system now available through any browser-based instant messaging client. WebEx Connect IM eliminates the need to install a separate client application on the computer. Cisco also introduced enhancements to its Cisco Prosumer Video offering, aiming to improve consumer-based products like its Flip video camera for enterprise use.

The Quad platform was demonstrated for reporters and industry analysts in various cities last week on Cisco's TelePresence system by Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise Collaboration Platform business unit. Sitaram said it incorporates social networking features for an enterprise setting by creating communities within an enterprise, connecting those with common interests, exchanging messages between members via IM and e-mail and scheduling meetings to be held via WebEx or other video conference systems.

Cisco Quad is similar to Microsoft's Unified Communications and the new Google Wave collaboration platforms. However, Cisco Quad was not intended to compete with those systems, but rather to interoperate with them, said Joe Hildebrand, principal engineer in Cisco's Collaboration Software Group. "Having all things interoperate is really important to us," said Hildebrand. "You'll see tighter and tighter integration with these things over time."

In addition, new from Prosumer Video is FocalPoint, a workspace for editing, managing and
sharing video and a new device for video capture, the Flip MinoPRO
camcorder. The MinoPRO has 16GB of video storage for four hours of
high-definition video recording time, said Paul Fulton, general manager
of Cisco's Prosumer business unit. Video shot with a MinoPRO or other
cameras can also be shared on the Quad collaboration system through a
feature called Show and Share. "Show and Share is the perfect platform
for distributing and sharing video content within the enterprise,"
Fulton says.

With these offerings, Cisco is offering the enterprise market what it says it wants, notes Irwin Lazar, vice president of Communications and Collaboration at Nemertes Research.  "More than 90 percent of organizations now consider themselves 'virtual,' with work groups physically separated across offices, regions or continents," he said. "We see growing interest in, and adoption of, solutions including social media, video, and content sharing."