Cisco Unified Workspace: Now I Know What the Heck It Is
The recent Cisco Partner Summit 2012 in San Diego presented me with a real head-scratcher when Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) execs announced Unified Workspace but didn’t (wouldn’t? couldn’t?) explain what it was. I was so irritated I wrote a blog about it.
Ask and ye shall receive, it seems: Fast forward a month, and I’ve gotten some answers. In short, Unified Workspace is, according to the company, “an integrated and strategic approach to the enterprise workspace that is squarely focused on helping employees access all of the people and resources they need to do their jobs effectively from wherever they are, on whatever device they choose and with an enhanced quality of experience.”
Okay, marketing-speak aside, Unified Workspace is a collection of Cisco technologies and validated designs with third-party software and a management suite. It’s designed to enable IT to provide a consistent user experience no matter where they are and what device they’re using.
At its heart, it sounds somewhat similar to Enterasys’ OneFabric architecture, which unifies the management of wired and wireless networks from the data center to the edge, including bring-your-own-device (BYOD) management. But Cisco is quick to point out Unified Workspace includes validated designs to slip in third-party applications with little fuss. And the applications are a combination of device-centric and virtual accessed via the Cisco Virtualization Experience Architecture (VXI).
“If you look at it in context, a workspace is different from a workplace,” said Richard McLeod, senior director of Collaboration Sales for the Worldwide Channels at Cisco. “We’re getting to where the place we go to work isn’t the most critical definition of where we work.”
Cisco Unified Workspace also includes what Cisco terms “Smart Services” that speak to BYOD, virtualization and . According to Cisco, the Smart Services are:
- BYOD Smart Solution: The Cisco BYOD Smart Solution provides end-to-end BYOD lifecycle management, from security to collaboration tools integration and management.
- VXI Smart Solution: The Cisco VXI Smart Solution is a desktop virtualization system that spans Cisco’s Data Center, Borderless Networks and Collaboration architectures to create a fully integrated, open and validated desktop virtualization solution.
- Remote Expert Smart Solution: Cisco Remote Expert is an integrated solution to enable a virtual face-to-face consultation through immersive video and online form-sharing by identifying and accessing the most appropriate subject matter expert from any location.
McLeod noted the validated designs and preintegration feature make Unified Workspace a game-changer in the user experience management space with the channel.
“If you can get the stack integrated and tested, which then becomes a baseline, you’ve added more value,” he said.
The increasingly popular unified network/BYOD space addresses the collective headache enterprises and verticals such as health care and education are feeling. The idea is simple, but the success of these solutions lies in whether they’re also simple to execute.