Cisco Improves Collaboration with Network Intelligence

WebEx and TelePresence get closer.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Mar 20, 2013
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The network plays a key role in ensuring that modern collaboration can occur. The network isn't just about dumb pipes for delivery, according to Cisco.

This week Cisco updated its collaboration portfolio with new software intended to optimize collaboration.

"We are enabling more efficient conferencing through new software on our existing TelePresence infrastructure," Ulrica de Fort-Menares, Director of Product Management for Cisco medianet, told Enterprise Networking Planet. "This new software can allocate conferencing resources by endpoint - and this works for Cisco and third party standards-based endpoints."

Cisco's medianet efforts have been ongoing since 2008 when the company announced its first medianet initiatives. Fort-Menares noted that Medianet is software that is in the endpoints and Cisco infrastructure. She added that Medianet is designed to work with non-Cisco endpoints because it is based on standard protocols.

"While medianet does give the most network visibility when you have Cisco endpoints and Cisco infrastructure, IT managers can deploy medianet capabilities incrementally, to get one or some of the benefits we describe, even without a pure Cisco network," Fort-Menares said.

The way Medianet software is implemented in endpoints is called the Medianet Services Interface (or MSI). The MSI can use existing policies already in place in the network, and just automate things, making it easier for IT administrators.

"We are talking about an innovative way for a medianet-enabled endpoint to explicitly share application contextual information to the network - information like what kind of endpoint it is, the kind of traffic, the user on that endpoint, etc," Fort-Menares explained. " This allows the network to apply the right policies (e.g. routing, QoS, SLA, etc.) dynamically."

She add that it's more than just reporting to a network management application - medianet allows the network to take action automatically, based on what will deliver the best possible user experience.

WebEx

With Cisco's latest collaboration push, there is also a melding of WebEx and TelePresence to enable seamless experiences. That said, WebEx and TelePresense are two independent technologies.

Angie Mistretta, Director of Marketing for Cisco TelePresence, explained that WebEx is the industry-leading web conferencing solution-it allows you to easily share files, video and audio. TelePresence is high-quality, lifelike video with the ability to also share content easily with other meeting participants. 

"With our recent set of announcements, we are enabling customers to have a seamless meeting experience on multiple devices and endpoints for all users leveraging both of these technologies together," Mistretta said.

Mistretta added that Cisco has supported content sharing between WebEx and TelePresence combined meetings for about two years now.

"With this new release, we are supporting two way video between WebEx and TelePresence endpoints, as well as easier content sharing - less steps to share content to all participants in one meeting," Mistretta commented.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network,  the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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