This http://investor.cisco.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=422676press release outlines the products that underlie Cisco's major foray into Unified Communications and Collaboration. On the eve of the company's "launch event" for Cisco Collaboration, we're starting to see the outlines of a plan that gives coherence to a series of loosely coupled but tightly related technologies. With "collaboration" as the unifying theme, the company not only rationalizes, but packages, videoconferencing (AKA "telepresence"), inter-company Instant Messaging (thanks to its aquisition of Jabber), cloud-based e-mail (under the WebEx brand), along with two very noteworthy, home-grown additions: Cisco Show and Share and the Cisco Enterprise Collaboration Platform.
The latter piece - the Enterprise Collaboration Server - is a missing link in social networking that many IT professionals have longed for. It gives enterprise employees the ability to create "buddy lists" (okay they call them "team spaces") on the fly so that they can use an IM-like client to do all the things that are packed into today's IP-based communications experience. That means they can detect present status (online, offiline, available, interruptible), chat, talk, conference and videoconference. In effect, it creates a portal through which employees can define the ways in which they want to collaborate without compromising network security or violating accepted business practices.
Tomorrow's a big day. At 3PM (Pacific Time), CEO John Chambers will deliver the keynote (and kick-off) address for the Cisco Collaboration Summit. If past is prologue, he will give a vivid portrayal of the value of Collaboration with many specific use cases and customer testimonials. He will link market needs to Cisco's range of products that fulfill those needs, and he will display the range of products and services from WebEx through Jabber and Tanberg, that Cisco has knit into a coherent platform for collaboration.