Cisco upgrades, broadens Quad

Offers enterprise social collaboration platform as hosted service

Cisco's Quad enterprise collaboration platform, which combines Web-based Facebook -like update posts, instant messaging, document sharing, video communication, microblogging and communities, will now be offered as a hosted and managed service. Cisco made this announcement earlier this week at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.

Quad is intended to allow enterprise users to create virtual working groups, find and interact with colleagues who have common interests or expertise, share files or videos with team members working on similar projects, and initiate web conferences or chat sessions. The new hosted and managed service option is targeted at mid-market companies with 1,000 employees and up that aren't able or don't want to deploy or manage Cisco Quad themselves on-premises.

Cisco also announced its upcoming release of Quad 2.5 at Enterprise 2.0, which will include pre-built integrations with content management and instant messaging platforms from EMC, Microsoft, and IBM. It will also include a new mobile application for the Android-based Cisco Cius tablet - it is already available on the Apple iPhone and iPad.

Cisco Quad 2.5 will integrate into EMC Documentum and Microsoft SharePoint 2007, and enterprise instant messaging platforms including Microsoft OCS 2007, IBM Sametime 8.5.1, and Cisco Jabber. This will enable presence and instant messaging between Cisco Quad and these various IM clients such that if one person is logged into Cisco Quad, and the other is logged into his or her IM client, the two people can still initiate and conduct an IM session.

Cisco Quad 2.5 will feature user customization enhancements and a set of services that are designed to "accelerate engagement and adoption," Cisco says. With Quad 2.5, Cisco is integrating its activity streams and its "watch list" functionality to enable business users to define, filter and improve the relevance of the content they access from their professional networks.

Quad 2.5 also proactively suggests recommendations for users to act on -- such as people to follow, communities to join, and new posts that may be of interest. These recommendations are based on their own Quad activity, or the activities of the people within their professional networks.

Quad also now supports file attachments and multimedia within the micro-blogging function - previously, users could just publish status updates. Users can now ask their network for the most relevant presentations or videos and get a response that doesn't clog inboxes with huge file sizes, Cisco says.

As a managed or hosted service, Quad will be offered through Cisco channel partners --  in the US and Canada through ACS, a Xerox company, and in Europe through Logicalis UK. In Australia, it will be offered by Alphawest. Cisco also announced that systems integrator Capgemini will consult organizations Quad deployments and integrate the product into their collaboration infrastructures.

Capgemini will use Quad as it works with customers on their collaboration systems. An initial targeted vertical market for this is life sciences.

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