Cisco, following up on a cloud-based UC program with Verizon, is offering a similar program through a partnership with European telecom giant Orange.
Cisco Systems is continuing to partner
with carriers as officials look to offer the company's collaboration technology
as a hosted service.
Three months after announcing a beta program with Verizon
, in which the carrier
is offering services based on Cisco's HCS (Hosted Collaboration Suite), the
networking giant is rolling out a similar program with Orange Business
Services, the B2B arm of French-Telecom Orange.
Orange Business announced June 27 that
its Business Together as a Service program, which also is based on Cisco's HCS,
is available in France and will be expanded to all of Europe later this year
and to other regions in 2012. Xerox General Services and Orange Labs have
already piloted the UC (unified communications) service, company officials
Through the service, the collaboration
offerings can be delivered via the cloud to customers using a variety of
"Orange Business Services and Cisco are
helping IT departments access collaboration and unified communications
applications based on the deployment model of their choice: in the cloud, on
premise or both," Eric Schoch, senior director for the Cisco Hosted
Collaboration Solution, said in a statement. "Companies now have flexibility
and choice in how they deploy these advanced and business-critical technologies
to their end users."
The service also will offer businesses
the greater flexibility and cost savings inherent in cloud computing, according
to Paul Molinier, vice president of unified communications and collaboration
for Orange Business Services.
"Employees need productivity tools that
make it easier and faster for them to get things done," Molinier said in a
statement. "Business Together as a Service helps employees collaborate together
more efficiently using a complete suite of best-in-class and on-demand 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.
The Orange Business Services is another
significant partnership for Cisco as it pushes its collaboration technologies
into the cloud. Orange officials say the carrier has more than 2.7 million
business clients, 3,700 multinational clients and 325,000 IP VPN (virtual
private network) access points in 177 countries.
The partnership echoes the one Cisco
has with Verizon, which was first discussed in July 2010 and was furthered in
March with the announcement of Verizon's Unified Communications and
Collaboration Service. That service is based on Cisco's HCS, which includes
Cisco Unified Communications Systems Release 8.0, HCS Management System and a
Verizon officials are integrating that
with such Verizon assets as audio conferencing; service applications; sales force
capabilities such as ordering, billing and SLAs; and the carrier's data center
infrastructure. The service currently includes such offerings as hosted email,
Jabber instant messaging and presence, conferencing, unified wired and wireless
clients, and IP PBX. It also can be offered on-premises, through the cloud or
in a hybrid fashion.
Earlier this month, Cisco officials
said they were going to start offering their Quad enterprise collaboration platform
a hosted or managed service, and will partner with ACS-the services arm of
Xerox-and consulting firm Capgemini to further that effort.
Cisco first introduced Quad in June
2010 as a way of giving businesses the same communications features found in
such social media environments as Facebook and MySpace-including profiles,
updates, video communications, Twitter-like microblogging, people searches and
auto-tagging-that employees use in their personal lives.