Cisco launches SMB strategy

Cisco Systems is using Gitex to kickstart a push into the region’s small and medium size business (SMB) market.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  October 4, 2004

Cisco Systems is using Gitex to kickstart a push into the region’s small and medium size business (SMB) market. The networking vendor’s latest line of solutions, introduced at the show, include integrated services routers, which are designed to deliver secure, wire-speed data, voice and video to SMBs and enterprises’ branch offices. They are also being positioned for service providers to support managed service offerings for that vertical space. Also being unveiled at the exhibition are entry-level extensions to the US-based supplier’s Catalyst 4500 series of modular switches, including the Supervisor II-Plus-TS, which allow integrated connectivity to be provided to servers, wireless access points, internet protocol (IP) phones, printers or end-users. Cisco has also introduced a solution to allow SMBs to centrally manage their networks from their desktop PCs, and the Catalyst 4948 fixed switch, a solution which is geared towards server aggregation. As well as breaking new ground for the vendor, the solutions also form part of Cisco’s intelligent information network (IIN) — a roadmap which it is pitching to businesses that are looking to improve the functionality of their telecoms infrastructure, ease access to advanced applications and services, and cut costs. At Gitex, the supplier is offering demonstrations of the IIN concept to visitors on its stand, and allowing them to test the intelligence of their networks. “We’re trying to bring the concept of the IIN closer to the users of the Middle East,” says Yousef Khalili, marketing manager, Cisco GCC. “The IIN is something we’ve been talking about for a while but we haven’t really demonstrated live how it can be utilised. We’re asking companies in the region how much intelligence is in their networks. We also have an IIN pod on our stand which can act as a point of reference for anyone wanting to know more about that topic,” he adds. The introduction of the integrated services routers also fits into Cisco’s concept of ‘self-defending networks’, and have a range of network security services embedded within them. Cisco’s network security activities are being demonstrated on another pod at the equipment vendor’s stand. “Integrating voice and network security capabilities into routers helps organisations save money and time,” says Marc de Simone, Cisco’s recently-appointed vice president for the Middle East and Africa. “Cisco’s integrated services routers will help many organisations in the Middle East and North Africa build more efficient and robust IP networks which will help them to achieve their business objectives,” he adds. Cisco, meanwhile, is also ramping up its focus on the small office, home office (SOHO) market in the region. Linksys, a division of the vendor it bought last year, is demonstrating business solutions such as non-managed switches, routers, storage products and virtual private networks (VPNs). It also has a range of home networking solutions on show, such as MP3 players, a wireless range of voice products, wireless IP cameras, broadband solutions and a wireless range extender. Stand: A7-1 Web: www.cisco.com

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