Cisco Active in the Unified Communications Cloud

Three announcements since the spring suggest that the company sees quite a future for network-based unified communications and collaboration.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Jun 28, 2011
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Cisco is on the move again. This week, the company contributed its Hosted Collaboration Suite (HCS) to a new offering from Orange Business Services. The product, Business Together as a Service, is available in France now and will expand to the rest of Europe this year and elsewhere in 2012.

Business Together as a Service, according to eWeek, is a collection of cloud-based unified communications tools:

Applications in Orange's Business Together as a Service program include telephony; unified messaging; instant messaging with presence; audio, Web and video conferencing; mobile device support; and an option for a contact center. The applications are accessible via a Web portal, through which enterprises can select from five preset profiles for various employee groups and can change the number of user accounts up or down as needed.

Cisco is making significant moves in the hosted unified communications and collaboration arena. On June 20, the company said that it will offer its Quad collaboration platform as a hosted service. CRN reported then that it will use ACS — owned by HP — as a partner in North America, Logicalis UK in Europe and Alphawest in Australia. Capgemini is offering consulting services.

The first major move was in April. PC Magazine reported that Verizon has agreed to use HCS as a network-based unified communications and collaboration service. The story has a good description of HCS. It is, the piece says, comprised of Cisco Unified Communications System Release 8 and collaboration applications, HCS Management System and “a virtualization platform and scalable system architecture.”

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