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Cisco Captures A Leadership Position in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications

I’m pleased to announce that Cisco has received recognition as a Leader in Gartner’s newly-released 2012 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications (UC).  In this report, Gartner analyzed the current enterprise UC market, and named Cisco as a market leader based on Cisco’s completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Gartner’s Unified Communications Magic Quadrant reflects the rapidly changing needs of today’s knowledge worker.  Recent research from a Cisco IBSG Horizons study showed that a striking 95% of businesses are allowing employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace. This includes smartphones, tablets and other personal devices that run on a variety of platforms. Highlighting this trend, Gartner closely evaluated UC options that work across multiple mobile platforms, and that provide support for open standards and interoperability with other solutions.

According to Gartner’s Bern Elliot and Steve Blood, “Enterprises wish to avoid ‘closed gardens’ and weak support for standards to ensure choice and control. Support for standards is a critical consideration, as enterprises wish to integrate their UC deployments with business partners, customers, business applications and third-party products.”

Support for multiple platforms

Cisco helps businesses address this growing need by providing a full suite of UC solutions for mobile devices across a variety of deployment options, including Apple, Android and other popular operating systems. For enterprises juggling a deluge of new employee devices and corporate platforms, the ability to provide full UC client support – including video, instant messaging (IM), presence and web collaboration – across a multi-vendor environment is critical.

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Service Providers Continue to See Value of Hosted Unified Communications and Collaboration Services

If there was ever a doubt that our service provider customers did not see the market opportunity to leverage the cloud and deliver enterprise collaboration services to their business customers, that uncertainty continues to decline.

Today, AT&T announced the availability of its Unified Communications Service, a new way for its business subscribers to offer a complete collaboration suite of features to employees in a secure and cost effective way. At the heart of AT&T’s enterprise collaboration solution is Cisco’s own Hosted Collaboration Solution, the foundation that many other providers such as Verizon and Orange have turned to, in helping them offer the best customized collaboration solution to their enterprise customers. Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers. Read More »

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The Next-Gen Collaborator: Ready for a Mobile Workplace

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Eric Schoch, senior director for hosted collaboration  in Cisco’s Collaboration organization. Eric is responsible for hosted and “as a service” solutions, strategic pricing and licensing, and business development.

There is simply no denying the increasing importance of being connected. Generation Y in particular, who grew up with mobile devices affixed almost permanently to their hands, views connectivity as one of life’s fundamental resources.

The newest addition to the workforce considers their mobile devices as an essential workplace tool to managing their workload and connecting with their colleagues on the go. While sitting in a meeting or having lunch in the break room, you can almost visualize the text bubbles hovering over crowds of this generation of workers as fingers hammer away at phones and tablets, eyes glued to the shiny screens in their hands. BYOD

But this trend goes far beyond lunch hours and happy hours. As proven by Chapter Two of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, the next-generation workforce is demanding flexibility in their choice of devices in both the workplace and remote-work options, illustrating the importance of the Internet in workforce culture. Social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility, in the case of 30% of the study’s respondents, are more important when accepting a job than a higher salary.

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The Facts about Innovation Leadership in Networking.

I just arrived home from a couple of days visiting customers in Asia and I was a little surprised by all the attention around Cisco’s increased competitive posture. It seems some people are surprised Cisco is calling out its smaller networking competitor by name, although I’ve heard few mentions of their Wall Street Journal cartoon advertisements ridiculing Cisco a while back. I guess that didn’t count.

Here’s the issue. If you’re going to claim innovation leadership in networking, you better be prepared to back it up with facts.

What matters most to customers is whether their networking partner is ready right now to help them adapt to, and benefit from, the massive network-centric changes that are transforming their businesses and their customers’ businesses.

My recent trip to Asia provided some great examples of exactly what I’m talking about:

First, Mobility is red hot. Tablet growth is exploding as the shift from the PC to new consumer based devices accelerates. With our service provider customers, the new Mobile Packet Core is THE number one conversation. The Cisco ASR 5000, combined with our CRS-1 and CRS-3, is the most innovative technology available to handle this explosion of mobile data and develop new services to help service providers monetize mobile content.

Twenty of the world’s top twenty five mobile operators are already deploying the Cisco ASR 5000 and this number is only going to increase. We also hear growing interest in Asia for SP Wi-Fi as an alternate method to address the escalating requirements for mobile bandwidth and data services. For sure, there’s a lot of competition for the mobile packet core and SP Wi-Fi, but our smaller competitor from Sunnyvale just doesn’t seem to be relevant in these conversations.

Cloud is on fire as enterprises accelerate their migration to private cloud to capture the economic, operational and agility benefits. In this area Cisco innovations have rocked the industry. Let’s check the facts. From a decade long position of undisputed leadership in data center switching based on our flagship Catalyst family of Ethernet switches, Cisco led the market with the first purpose built data center core switch and operating system, the Nexus 7000 with Cisco NX-OS software. Then we led the market with the introduction of Unified Fabric on the Nexus 5000, the first to consolidate data center networks over FCoE. We also introduced the first data center fabric extension on the Nexus 2000. And the Nexus 1000 was the industry’s first distributed virtual switch for VMware environments. The Nexus 3000 ultra low-latency switch has achieved immediate success in financial services customers and at massively scalable data centers.

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Where is the Cloud Collaboration Market Heading?

The hosted services market has seen tremendous growth over the past year. In particular, Cisco’s own Hosted Collaboration Solution has received the greatest validation from service providers, including key deployments with Verizon earlier this year and Orange Business Services recently announcing their Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in June. Businesses are now realizing the value of providing a rich suite of collaboration applications that are accessible anywhere, on any device.

The next question remains, once these solutions are developed and initially adopted, what’s the next innovation in the market that will keep current customers, while attracting potential ones?

There’s no denying that mobile devices are a part of everyday business life. With many users accessing business applications and resources via their personal smartphones, tablets and laptops, it’s only natural for the next iteration of cloud collaboration to stretch into the mobile realm.

In a recent study conducted by Cisco’s independent research arm, The Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), it was revealed from those surveyed that business users will be key adopters of mobile cloud services.

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