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11/10/2009
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Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
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Hi Everyone, Cisco Is Here

In case you missed it, Cisco took the wraps off its social/collaboration strategy yesterday at its Collaboration Summit (#ciscocollab) summit in San Francisco. Cisco fired a salvo deep into the territory of Microsoft and IBM Lotus (and to a lesser extent, Google) with its own suite of products covering messaging and social computing. Cisco also introduced numerous video and real-time collaboration products designed to broaden access to its telepresence suite, mate video with WebEx web conferencing, and easily enable inter-company collaboration.

On the social/messaging front, Cisco introduced the following new products:

  1. Cisco Pulse - An on-premise applications that analyzes messaging, tags, content, and e-mail to essentially create an internal cloud tag for users, groups, or the entire organization. Cisco's markets Pulse as allowing you to "Take the Pulse" of your organization. Pulse is an embedded application into Cisco's new Media Engine platform.
  2. Enterprise Collaboration Platform - Maybe not the greatest name, but this is Cisco's SharePoint/Connections killer. Not only does it provide the shared workspace and collaboration capabilities of others, but Cisco embeds voice and video sharing and integrates personal profiles into other communication application. Essentially ECP could become the ultimate user portal, allowing workers to manage all their communications and collaboration through their home page.
  3. Show and Share - this is a video editing and content management application. The "killer app" is that it can split the audio track from a video, and then transcribe the voice track into text so it becomes searchable. Users can view video by looking at transcript and only watching the parts they want. This also runs on Media Engine. The user interface is similar to iMovie, and users can easily take their own videos (that Cisco hopes you will create with its Flip camera), edit them, but in chapter markers, and publish to their communities.
  4. Cisco WebEx Mail - A SaaS service based on their PostPath acquisition. WebEx mail supports a rich AJAX-based web client, or existing Outlook clients, as well as any mobile device that supports ActiveSync (or BlackBerry BES). Cisco is offering a 25 GB mailbox, arguing that WebEx mail will enable administrators and users to end the pain of PST files, especially as video drives larger and larger mailbox sizes. WebEx mail provides in-the-cloud security as well.

In addition to all of these announcements, Cisco introduced a new UC client (on-prem, or hosted as a WebEx product) and new options for cross-company federation for video and presence (see the posts over on No Jitter for more details.)

Now comes the questions: What's the go-to-market strategy? How do they provide support? How do they build a developer community? How do they differentiate themselves from Microsoft, IBM (and SocialText and Jive)? What's the ROI? How do you integrate legacy applications or even potentially federate between Cisco and Microsoft collaboration applications? All these and more to be asked, and hopefully answered over the next 2 days.

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