Cisco beefs up enterprise collaboration tools

New products address areas like communications security, third-party participants and IT management

The second generation of the TelePresence MX300 endpoint is a stand-mounted, high-definition (1080p) display with a camera and four-way conferencing capability

The second generation of the TelePresence MX300 endpoint is a stand-mounted, high-definition (1080p) display with a camera and four-way conferencing capability

Cisco will boost its enterprise collaboration stack with products designed to simplify the way companies secure communications, interact with external parties and manage their collaboration tools.

The new wares, which will be announced on Wednesday at the company's annual Collaboration Summit, signal a renewed push from Cisco in this market, where it battles rivals like Microsoft, IBM, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens and Citrix.

"Collaboration tools are old and broken," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, during a meeting with reporters prior to today's announcement.

Younger workers demand and expect collaboration tools -- including IM, presence, video conferencing, audio chats, IP telephony and Web meetings -- to be readily available anytime and anywhere, so Cisco is doubling down on mobility and cloud computing.

"You haven't seen anything yet," Trollope said, adding that the products being unveiled represent "a new direction for collaboration at Cisco."

One of the products is the Cisco Expressway, a gateway that secures real-time collaboration, including voice, IM and video communications without requiring device registration, account setup or passwords.

Cisco Expressway, part of the company's Collaboration Edge Architecture, uses Transport Layer Security and works with Cisco product families like Jabber and TelePresence. Expressway will be available in December. Expressway remote and mobile access for Jabber will be included at no additional cost in Cisco Unified Workspace license bundles.

Another new product is Jabber Guest, which plugs into Expressway and lets companies provide secure, controlled access to their enterprise collaboration systems to external parties like partners, contractors and customers.

For example, Jabber Guest lets companies usher in outsiders via a link on an IM or through a button on their website, so that, say, a tech support representative can communicate with a customer through video conference and screen share via a browser or mobile device. Jabber Guest will be available in January. Pricing will be announced then and will be based on the number of concurrent "guest" sessions the customer wants to have available.

Cisco will also unveil a new technology called Intelligent Proximity, designed to make it easy for employees to link their mobile phones with their desk phones so that they can switch calls in progress back and forth, and export contacts and call histories from the mobile phones. The first Cisco phone to gain this functionality will be the Android-based DX650 Smart Desk Phone.

The first implementation of Intelligent Proximity uses Bluetooth, but it will later employ an as-yet-unannounced Cisco technology that will further simplify the linking of devices, according to Trollope. The Intelligent Proximity for the DX650 will be delivered via a free firmware upgrade in November.

For IT administrators, Cisco has enhanced Prime Collaboration, giving it a centralized management console to control most Cisco collaboration products, including servers, desk phones and client software, monitor system health and provision users' own devices. It will be available in November.

Cisco is also announcing the second generation of its TelePresence MX300 endpoint, which is a stand-mounted, high-definition (1080p) display with a camera, four-way conferencing capability, an industrial "sleek" design and simple assembly requirements, according to the company. Available in December, its list price starts at US$23,900.

On the low end, Cisco unveiled the IP Phone 7800 Series for midmarket customers that offers what the company describes as "superior audio quality" with low power consumption. It will be available this month and cost $255.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telephonyCisco Systemstelecommunicationapplicationssoftwarecollaboration

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?