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Cisco boosts collaboration solutions portfolio

New product launches include Unified Communications update, telepresence experts and Web 2.0 mashups

Cisco has announced the launch of a new set of collaboration technologies, which it believes will help it to tap into the $34 billion market for collaboration solutions.

The launch includes over 40 products, including updates to key lines and new additions, for unified communications including video and Web 2.0 platforms.

In a video briefing with journalists, Cisco CEO and chairman John Chambers said the launch would usher in a “decade of productivity and a decade of innovation, in which people all around the world will be able to participate”.

The launch includes the latest version of Cisco Unified Communications, version 7.0. The new version of Cisco’s core collaboration software, Unified Communications 7.0 now includes compatibility with Windows Mobile to increase mobility usage. The company also plans to introduce integration with Apple iPhone within the next year.

Unified Communications also now includes full integration with leading Microsoft and IBM collaboration solutions, to enable customers to select best of breed solutions, and new solutions, plus enhancements for remote workers.

Cisco also unveiled TelePresence Expert on Demand, a software solution that combines telepresence with contact centre functions, so that customers can be connected to customer facing ‘experts’ in a face-to-face manner using telepresence. The solution is designed to work either through existing telepresence solutions or in point-of-sale type terminals.

The third major product launched today was WebEx Connect, an application platform to provide collaboration services from the cloud. WebEx Connect will include the ability to integrate business applications into collaboration services, through the use of widgets, and to combine services as mashups.

Manjula Talreja, VP strategy & business operations, software group, Cisco, told itp.net that the company aims to increase its collaboration business threefold over the next three years in the Middle East.

Cisco and its partner Wipro already have a number of customers for collaboration solutions in the region, she said, although no details were disclosed, and will be focusing on selling to the financial, real estate, health and education sectors.

Worldwide, only 13% of Cisco’s networking customers are currently using Cisco collaboration systems, although this figure is much lower in the Middle East, Talreja said, so the company believes that there is massive potential for the solutions.

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