Cisco grows its collaboration portfolio

Cisco has announced a slew of new cloud capabilities at its recent Cloud Collaboration Summit -- launching new and upgraded hosted cloud offerings, a Web conferencing solution for private clouds, and providing partners with additional "as-a-service" revenue opportunities for Cisco partners. The latest upgrades span telepresence, Web conferencing, unified communications (UC) and contact center solutions. The innovations are designed to advance Cisco CloudVerse solutions by providing elements to more easily build, manage and connect public, private and hybrid clouds.

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Capitalizing on the growth of Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), the company is extending the application breadth and platform depth of the solution. Among the HCS upgrades and new technologies, targeted for global availability in Q4 2012, Cisco has included:

• Extending TelePresence capabilities in HCS with TelePresence so partners can offer customers a "static bridge" service option, also known as "rendezvous conferencing," that allows them to conduct TelePresence meetings at any time, versus having to make a meeting reservation.

• Maximizing ROI for Partners by integrating the Cisco TelePresence Exchange (CTX) into HCS. By expanding the reach of TelePresence, the CTX integration also enables customers' connections at multiple locations (including to external vendors and suppliers) at the same time.

• Expanding HCS for customer collaboration so partners can easily manage multiple contact centers for customers. Additionally, HCS partners can arm customers with a highly customizable Web 2.0 collaboration desktop that puts relevant information that call center agents need in a single, modifiable cockpit. Agents can use this information to assist callers faster, better, and with greater accuracy.

•Cisco is extending many of the latest Cisco UC capabilities announced earlier this summer to the cloud via HCS.

Cisco also unveiled a premises-based WebEx Meetings Server, designed for organizations that need a fully "on-premises" conferencing solution housed in their own data centers. According to the company's announcement, the public Cisco WebEx cloud has seen a 38% increase year over year and many customers have for a private cloud solution that provides the same level of collaboration capabilities.

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