Cisco Systems is buying Collaborate.com as officials look to grow the company's mobile collaboration capabilities.
Cisco will leverage Collaborate.com's mobile collaboration application to help it gain ground in the areas of mobility and cloud computing, according to Hilton Romanski, senior vice president and head of business development at Cisco. The move comes as mobile workers continue to look for ways to collaborate when they're away from the office, and Collaborate.com's application tools are both user-friendly and mobile-centric, Romanski said.
"Together, Cisco and Collaborate plan to provide a comprehensive solution that enables the mobile workforce to work smarter and more efficiently from virtually anywhere," he wrote in a Dec. 17 post on the Cisco blog site. "Collaborate's cutting-edge technology and strong engineers as part of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group will help accelerate Cisco's innovation in collaboration."
No financial details of the acquisition of Boston-based Collaborate.com were released.
Collaboration and mobility are key areas being targeted by Cisco executives, who are forecasting rapidly growing numbers of connected Internet users—3.6 billion by 2017—and devices—50 billion by 2020. Throw in the trends toward greater worker mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and the need for greater mobile collaboration tools is clear.
Most collaboration and video conferencing vendors have some sort of mobile strategy that includes apps for mobile devices that let users leverage the vendors' communication technologies.
Cisco has a range of collaboration tools, from video conferencing to WebEx to Jabber, within its Collaboration Technology Group, which the Collaborate.com employees will join. Collaborate.com has created a mobile app—called Collaborate—for Apple's iPhone, devices running Google's Android operating system, and the Web that enables mobile users to quickly spin up virtual collaboration rooms. Inside these virtual rooms, the participants can chat and share documents, notes, videos and photos.
Collaborate.com's platform integrates with email systems and third-party cloud services.
"Collaborate's flexibility also enables teams to integrate collaboration and communication into their enterprise workstreams, as the application helps keep teams aligned and accelerates decision-making," Cisco's Romanski wrote.
Collaborate.com's technologies will help Cisco with its next-generation collaboration software, company officials said, adding that they also will be brought to other business applications in the future.
In a post on the Collaborate.com blog site, founder and CEO Matt Cutler said joining forces with Cisco made sense.
"The acquisition represents a natural evolution and acceleration of our vision for Collaborate," Cutler wrote. "Together, Cisco and Collaborate will drive a comprehensive solution that enables the mobile workforce to work smarter and more efficiently from virtually anywhere."
He also told users that Collaborate.com's current apps will continue to be available, and that the users would be informed "well in advance" of any changes.