Cisco Expands Meraki's Reach Into Communications
Cisco's Meraki cloud software already manages networks, mobile endpoints, security systems and IT infrastructure. Now it includes voice.Since buying Meraki almost four years ago, Cisco Systems officials have expanded the reach of the technology beyond its cloud-based WiFi management roots. The giant networking vendor has grown the reach of Meraki's software to include the ability to manage networks, IT infrastructure, security systems and mobile devices using the same cloud-based solutions and single-pane-of-glass management dashboard. CEO Chuck Robbins has said that Cisco is working toward using the Meraki model for all of the systems in its portfolio. Now the company is bringing communications into the mix. Cisco officials announced May 24 that it has developed a communications platform for Meraki that includes a new phone, the Meraki MC. It's the result of demand from Meraki customers who wanted to include enterprise voice in the mix of what the company's software can manage, according to Todd Nightingale, vice president and general manager at Cisco Meraki. "A rapidly growing number of IT teams depend on the Meraki Dashboard to manage their infrastructure," Nightingale wrote in a post on the company blog. "More and more of them have been asking if we could do the same thing to simplify their voice networks. Meraki users can be incredibly persuasive."
The Meraki MC offers a simple design that includes a screen on the base. It's managed through the same Meraki dashboard that customers can use for their wireless, security, switch and mobile devices, he wrote. It also uses a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based architecture and includes the endpoint, cloud license and SIP service from service providers. In addition, Meraki engineers are planning to integrate the new communications platform with Cisco's collaboration portfolio, including Spark platform.