Cisco UC

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Cisco offers perhaps the broadest product portfolio for unified communications and collaboration, with collaboration services available on-premises to be deployed with existing infrastructure — where Cisco is an obvious market leader — but also on-demand using software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions such as WebEx. Cisco’s video conferencing offerings were strengthened, particularly in delivering services for desktop and notebook computers, with the acquisition of Tandberg. The Tandberg technology has been added to Cisco’s TelePresence product line, offering a full range of videoconferencing solutions that are tied into the organization’s unified communications and collaboration strategy.

Cisco positions its collaboration solutions as open and interoperable, enabling customers to integrate new and existing collaboration technologies. It packages its collaboration solutions as conferencing, customer care, enterprise social software, IP communications, messaging, mobile applications, and TelePresence. A relative newcomer is Cisco Quad, which is positioned as an enterprise collaboration platform that combines social networking with communications, business information and content management systems. One of the major benefits of Cisco Quad is that it is designed to work with other collaboration platforms and document management systems already on the market. Cisco Quad integrates the creation of content, communications platforms, business transactional systems and social capabilities. It features real-time integration through an open architecture and includes video as an embedded form of communication. It also offers enhanced security and policy management.

The Cisco portfolio is packaged under the name Cisco Unified Communications. It is a scalable, distributed, highly available enterprise-class system that delivers voice, video, presence and mobility services, connecting as many as 30,000 or more users of IP phones, media processing devices, VoIP gateways, mobile devices and multimedia gateways. Another important and relatively new feature of Cisco Unified Communications is the Cisco Intercompany Media Engine. The solution is designed to link users at different companies — or users in autonomous groups within an organization — that do not have direct connectivity. It is designed to enable features such as business-to-business video and high-definition VoIP with multiple levels of security built-in.