Cisco Collaboration Summit in 3 Words: Conferencing, Cloud, & Squared
By Jim Lundy
We attended the Cisco Collaboration Summit (#CSummit) in Los Angeles this week—Cisco’s annual gathering of customers, partners, and analysts—to discuss what Cisco is doing in collaboration.
The main takeaway from this year’s #CSummit is that they are doing a lot, the product refresh story is strong, and partners and customers are beginning to spend. And given what we saw, they will probably spend more. This blog summarizes the key things we observed at Cisco Collaboration Summit 2014.
Project Squared: The New Tip of the Spear in Collaboration
If there is any emerging trend occurring in collaboration, it is enterprise mobile collaboration (you heard it here first) and Cisco isn’t waiting to jump in.
It unveiled a new service called Project Squared, which while it works in a browser, is designed for a mobile device. Cisco gave all of the #CSummit Attendees access to Project Squared and while still in beta, it was easy to use and it was fast. Cisco joins many others who have launched products into this space including Biba, CoTap, Slack, Unify, and others.
Cisco Collaboration: WebEx and Telepresence Extreme Makeover
Cisco unveiled new and updated conferencing products. What was telling was the bevy of improvements in things that customers will love. One of the most noteable introductions was the new IX5000 Immersive Telepresence Unit—which got applause for its form factor and ease of install.
WebEx, which Cisco claims has 50 million monthly users, got a major update in its user interface, but more importantly, to its launch speed and the quality and reliability of its voiceover IP (VOIP). On top of that, WebEx now allows users to have a dedicated and persistent room for ongoing meetings.
The extreme makeover for Telepresence went much further than many anticipated. The cameras for the IX5000, which now offer 4K resolution, are much smaller and don’t need the kind of setup and adjustments the old ones required. The reduced need for power and AC modifications to install a Telepresence Unit was also telling. On top of that, the IX5000 supports H.265, which means video bandwidth demands will be lower.
Cloud: The Cisco Cloud Story Is Here, But Just Getting Started
Cisco has been in the real-time Cloud business for as long as it has had WebEx. That said, it never talked about all of the things that were going on in their Cloud as much and as well as they did this week.
Cisco Collaboration CTO Jonathan Rosenberg talked at length about about Cisco’s efforts in Cloud. The main takeaway that many already knew is that Cisco has a Global Collaboration Cloud—that has mainly been focused on WebEx and it now has its InterCloud, which Cisco Collaboration Services will be leveraging. We expect Cisco to share more about its Cloud plans in 2015.
I’ve been to Cisco #CSummit many times. This was as focused as I’ve seen it and products were really delivering on innovation. That said, CEO John Chambers is clearly looking for results and that was what he implied in his opening comments. Given the recent growth in a number of Cisco Collaboration product areas, signs point to that.