Cisco, AT&T Alliance Aims at Business Collaboration
On the same day, Cisco rolled out its new TelePresence IX5000 series room-based system for six to 18 people that comes with three 70-inch screens, three 4K cameras and a high-end audio system. It's easier to use than current TelePresence systems and, starting at $299,000, is less expensive. It also uses half the bandwidth of its predecessors and less power than is needed to run a hair dryer, officials said. Despite numbers from IDC analysts that show a continuing decline in worldwide revenues for video conferencing equipment, there are myriad cases where a telepresence system is preferable to conferencing over a smartphone, according to Chris Wiborg, Cisco's director of collaboration portfolio marketing. "We do still believe there's a place for this type of high-end system," Wiborg told eWEEK. Also at the summit, Cisco announced the Business Edition 6000S, a product aimed at the midmarket that integrates collaboration technologies in a 2921 Integrated Services Router.In a conference call with analysts and journalists the week before Cisco's Collaboration Summit, CEO John Chambers said the company is going to continue to invest in its collaboration technologies and grow its enterprise licensing revenues. "We are going to continue to transform a collaboration portfolio and move to more enterprise license agreements in subscription," Chambers said. "As our new video products ramp well but at dramatically lower price points, we saw declines in TelePresence and unified communications [revenues]." He noted the strength in the WebEx business and said that "collaboration should be the greatest productivity driver for our organizations." Chambers foreshadowed what was coming up at the summit, talking about "bold moves that will secure our leadership position in cloud-based, simple, secure and converged collaboration." "I think we have great potential to grow this business over time," he said. "I really like our position and our pipeline, and I'm very optimistic about returning back to positive growth levels relatively quickly in the collaboration arena."
Cisco continues to pour a lot of effort and money into its collaboration solutions despite some money-losing quarters over the past several years. In the most recent quarter, the company's collaboration revenues fell 10 percent from the same period in 2013. Still, Cisco executives and industry analysts have said that collaboration technologies continue to be a priority for businesses, though the market is still in the middle of its transition to cloud and software solutions.