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3/15/2006
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Cisco CEO: Video Will Drive Collaboration

The company will incorporate video into voice, E-mail, and instant messaging applications as part of its push to help group collaboration in large enterprises.

Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers said the networking giant in the coming year will focus on improving collaboration by weaving video into enterprise voice, e-mail and instant-messaging applications, part of the company’s push toward unified communications.

"The majority of interaction between people is going to be video, and partners are going to be the ones driving profitability in this area," Chambers said Wednesday in a keynote speech at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego.

He outlined a future in which the ability for workers to communicate and make decisions in groups will speed business processes and spur the development of new applications, such as video collaboration. "The ability to implement loose forms of collaboration regardless of where people are located gives you the ability to move as a group and make decisions faster than you could before," he said.

About 93 percent of Cisco's commercial and enterprise business now goes though partners, and Cisco will ask solution providers to adapt their network architecture to achieve this collaboration vision, according to Chambers. "Partners will be the way we deliver these services to our customers," he said. Changes will be seen first in the government and health care sectors, he added.

Although unified communications now represents 10 percent of Cisco's business, Chambers said he expects it to comprise 30 percent to 45 percent of incremental business within the next five years.

Cisco also will sharpen its focus on how to use convergence in the network to streamline business processes. "Fixed and mobile should be the same concept," Chambers said. "The network has the ability to change business structures and bring in new customers."

Partners, too, will play a key role in keeping Cisco's innovation engine running, Chambers said. "Partnering is much harder than acquiring as a way to move forward, but innovation is always is a combination of doing it yourself or with a team. And the courage to partner is also important," he said.

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