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Cisco throws its hat back into the enterprise collaboration ring

Cisco throws its hat back into the enterprise collaboration ring

While still an early work in progress, the vendor is hoping that customers will like what they see and not defect to the likes of Microsoft, Google, or Citrix...

Cisco is working on a new offering for the enterprise collaboration market: Project Squared, billed as a mobile-first, virtual meeting room for teams.

While still an early work in progress, the vendor is hoping that customers will like what they see and not defect to the likes of Microsoft, Google, or Citrix, all of whom have competing offerings in the realtime communication and collaboration market.

Delivered by the Cisco Collaboration Cloud, Ovum analyst Richard Edwards believes the time has now arrived for the tech giant to throw its hat back into the enterprise collaboration ring.

“Cisco has a strong presence in the communications and collaboration market, but competition is fierce in the world of mobile-first, cloud-connected, socially enabled applications,” Richards adds.

“Microsoft is back on the front foot with its mobile apps (supporting Apple iOS and Android devices as readily as those based on its own mobile computing platforms).

“Google is pushing its way into the room-based conferencing arena with its Chromebox for meetings devices and Citrix is chipping away at WebEx’s market share in the online meetings market with its GoTo range of products.”

But Edwards says Project Squared is being built by a team of software engineers that understand how new employees entering the workplace want to work.

Accessible on mobile devices via iOS and Android apps, and on traditional computers using Chrome and Firefox browsers the core elements of Project Squared are not unlike other products on the market, but for Edwards, “the real potential of this offering lies in integrating it with existing Cisco products, such as WebEx and Jabber.”

“Users can also connect their Outlook calendar to Project Squared and invite external parties into team rooms and meetings,” he adds.

Yet Cisco has stated that it has no immediate plans to release Project Squared for Windows 8, and as the browser-based interface requires support for WebRTC, Internet Explorer isn’t supported either.

“Ignoring Windows-based endpoints – mobile and desktop – isn’t an obvious tactic for a company trying to succeed in the enterprise and mid-market collaboration space,” adds Richards, “so it will be interesting to see what impact Project Squared has in 2015.”

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