Cisco is moving toward unifying its UC portfolio with Cisco BroadCloud Calling, and also announces huddle space experience improvements.

Lynn Haber

November 13, 2018

4 Min Read

CISCO PARTNER SUMMIT — Cisco has not only invigorated its collaboration team with new blood, the vendor on Tuesday added new collaboration integrations and products to bolster demand and dissipate user disappointment. A big player in unified communications, Cisco boasts 300 million users globally.


Cisco’s Amy Chang

From a strategy perspective, Cisco is working on creating a single unified UC portfolio.

“Bridges, no more islands,” said Amy Chang, senior vice present, collaboration technology group. “You’re going to see the portfolio come together in a way it hasn’t before.”

Partners and users will hear Cisco talk about a cloud-first strategy this week at the company’s Partner Summit in Las Vegas, but not a cloud-only strategy.

“We have 36 million users on Jabber. Our on-prem portfolio; you can believe that we’re going to be developing for that as well,” said Chang. “You’ll see us developing on both sides.”

Here’s our most recent list of new products and services being offered by agents, VARs, MSPs and other channel partners.

Cisco made news announcements that touch on its collaboration strategy.

Two new collaboration transformations, announced Tuesday, focus on BroadCloud Calling and Huddles spaces. The new Cisco BroadCloud Calling boasts integration with Webex Teams and Meetings, and comes with a new collaboration Flex Plan for service providers. Cisco acquired BroadSoft for $171 billion a year ago as part of its move from switching and routing to software.

On the Huddles front, admitting that it hasn’t reached its potential since being introduced a couple of years ago, Sri Srinivasan, vice president and general manager, Team Collaboration Group, announced three new products: Webex Share, Webex Room Mini Kit and Webex Board 55.

Cisco BroadCloud Calling is a phone system in the cloud, offering the benefits of a traditional PBX in the cloud. Cisco Webex Teams will be available through service providers. It’s designed for companies with more than 100 employees.

“Webex Teams now becomes PBX in the cloud,” said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, global marketing at Cisco.

Cisco also added new BroadCloud Calling to the Flex Plan, specifically for service providers. What that means is that Cisco BraodCloud Calling is a new option in the plan and service providers can bundle or mix and match how their customers want to deploy – on-premises or in the cloud – in a single package with a single bill.

This solution will initially be available through six service providers in the U.S. and expand to support global locations across 19 countries in 2018, and more in 2019 and beyond.

Additionally, a new Cisco Calling App will be available from service providers who sell BroadCloud Calling while using the Flex Plan — and they can private-label the app. It’s also integrated with Outlook and the enterprise directory to simplify searching for colleagues.

Huddle spaces are rooms designed for five people or fewer, and there are about 25 million Huddle spaces today, representing a 20 percent growth rate over two years; however, 48 percent of huddle spaces have no collaboration technology. It’s no wonder why 78 percent of huddle users report that they’re frustrated with Huddle spaces collaboration.

With this announcement of Webex Share, Webex Room Kit Mini and Webex Board 55, Cisco is out to …

… improve huddle spaces and improve the user experience.

Webex Share is a palm-sized adapter that works with Webex Meetings and Webex Teams to turn any TV or screen into a presentation device.

Webex Room Kit Mini helps a team of say, five people, meet with remote colleagues and share content. It’s made for smaller spaces and is packed with AI, cameras, and microphones, replicating an experience you’d get with larger systems.

Webex Board 55 is for a huddle space where people mainly want to whiteboard and co-create.

As Cisco moves to create a unified UC portfolio it’s freshened up its team.

Srinivasan, who joined Cisco in March, spent almost 13 years at Microsoft and almost five years at Oracle (Peoplesoft). He isn’t the only new face on the collaboration team. Chang joined Cisco in May and spent two years on Cisco’s board of directors. Prior to Cisco’s acquisition of Accompany, a Chang startup, she most recently led teams for Google Analytics, Website Optimizer, Trends and multichannel attribution for more than seven years.

Aruna Ravichandra joined the company in August and, Alexandra Zagury, vice president, global collaboration sales, since August, has been with Cisco for almost four years. Seventeen-year Cisco veteranJay Weisblatt, manager, global collaboration channels, also joined the collaboration team in August.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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