Last week, Cisco held its European edition of its user conference, Cisco Live, in Milan, Italy. The Live conference is a great place for Cisco customers to learn about the latest and greatest Cisco technology. However, the show also provides a venue for Cisco's technology partners to strut their own stuff on the "World of Solutions" show floor. This year's conference was the first European event to have a dedicated DevNet Zone for developer partners to showcase their solutions as well.
Cisco's partner community is very large and includes a bunch of tech vendors that everyone knows, including EMC, F5, and Network Appliance. However, the show also includes a number of smaller vendors that many may not have heard of. Also, being a European-based event, the show was home to a number of companies that don't cross the radar of U.S.-based businesses. I spent a good amount of time on the show floor, and below are eight companies I felt that Cisco customers should know about but probably do not.
This small, Serbian-based company is a DevNet partner that has built a product to seamlessly integrate Cisco Jabber with IBM Notes. While the Notes base is a fraction of what it once was, it's still a sizable install base. If you're working at a company that's still running Notes, you've probably been frustrated trying to get it to work better with Jabber. While the products are federated, the quality of video is iffy and functionality is fairly limited. PS Tech tightly integrates Jabber and Notes so users can see who is available directly inside the Notes client. Then the user can escalate to Jabber voice, video, or web chat directly from the Notes mail client. If you're looking to get the most out of Notes, PS Tech's plug-in creates an enhanced, secure collaboration experience.
UK-based Purple WiFi has built a solution to help businesses make some money from their free WiFi services. Free WiFi is becoming an increasingly popular way for retailers, restaurants, and other types of businesses to attract customers and push ads. Typically, the ads are pushed with no knowledge of who is connected or the interests that person might have. Purple WiFi has a solution to improve the effectiveness of the ads by allowing customers to log in through social IDs, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Instagram, collecting data, doing some analytics, and then pushing ads or other messages most relevant to the venue. While the company started in the UK, in January it received a $5 million round of funding and now has operations in the U.S. and China.
Based in Barcelona, Intelliment is a University of Seville (Spain) spin out and, as such, it consists of a number of high-level engineers and PhDs. The company offers something called "software defined security," where policy changes are automatically orchestrated and deployed to the network. The product can be configured through a command line or through a slick point-and-click visual interface. At the show, the company was demonstrating its ability to implement security policies in a Cisco network through integration with the OpenDaylight Controller.
Other than Telecom Italia, this might have been the only Italian-based vendor on display in the World of Solutions. The company provides a rich set of applications that can be integrated into Cisco's UC suite. The Imagicle suite offers applications, such as an operator console, queue management, reporting on voice traffic, mobile applications, and call recording. In January, the company released a "Hotel Pack" that integrates with property management systems. At Cisco Live, Imagicle was demonstrating integration with Telecom Italia's Virtual PBX-based on Cisco HCS. While the company offers the richest set of applications on Cisco infrastructure, it also integrates with Microsoft Lync and a number of other UC vendors.
IP Trade builds high-performance unified communications solutions for the financial services industry, specifically trading desks. The trading desk is one of the most demanding environments in any industry. Typically, this industry has been served with expensive systems that ran on dedicated platforms and parallel networks. IP Trade offers a scalable, highly available application that unifies all communication streams, from all sources in a single software solution. The solution allows any employee, on or off the trading desk, to share lines, identify who is available, and conference or communicate via voice, video or messaging. In addition to the back-end platform, IP Trade also makes a number of different desktop turrets (systems for trading desks) to enable traders to easily visualize, prioritize, and process multiple streams of communication. The company was founded in the UK, but now has operations in the U.S., Belgium, and Hong Kong.
The Melbourne, Australia-headquartered Urbanise is a cloud-based platform designed specifically for delivering facilities services to buildings. Enabling smart buildings has been a key initiative for Cisco for years, even prior to its Internet of Things push. Urbanise's cloud platform shifts the building operations and maintenance process from a bunch of manual processes to a rich, dynamic online experience. Facilities management has historically been something most IT people haven't had much interest in, but IoT is changing this.
This is another developer partner that builds applications for Cisco's UC platform. The company is based in France but distributes products throughout the EMEA region through Cisco IPT integrators. Telisca has built a portfolio of phone applications to customize the user's experience, including a rich extension to mobility applications. In addition, there are a number of tools for administrators and integrators for migration, provisioning, and credential management, including call center query tools and macros for a phone.
Western Telematic Inc.
Remote management of Cisco infrastructure certainly wasn't the sexiest topic at Cisco Live, but it's one that every organization needs to deal with. California-headquartered WTI builds products to do just that. Its portfolio of products includes remote console servers, remote power switches, fallback switches, automatic transfer switches, and power and energy consumption tools. If you run remote infrastructure, infrastructure like this should be considered mission-critical.