Cisco Quad Looks to Bring Social Networking to Business Realm

Cisco officials are preparing a corporate collaboration platform that combines the various aspects of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace with enterprise-level security and policy control and business applications. Cisco is expected to talk more about Quad at the Enterprise 2.0 show next week in Boston.

Cisco Systems officials are getting ready to launch a collaboration platform that brings together social networking capabilities and enterprise-level applications and other features.

Cisco officials are expected to further detail their Quad platform at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, which runs June 14-17.

The company is looking to enable a businesses to use the various communications features in such social media environments as Facebook and MySpace-from profiles, updates and video communications to Twitter-like microblogging, posts, people search, RSS feeds and auto-tagging-that employees have taken advantage of in their personal lives and apply them to the corporate world.

The platform's landing page is dubbed MyView, a customizable space that enables the user to view the various people and projects they're following, check the calendar, communities and activities they're involved in, and start any communications-via IM, e-mail or video conference-they need to conduct.

At the same time, Cisco is bringing enterprise-level features to the platform, including business applications, management and security, including integration with Cisco's Enterprise Policy Manager offering. The security features include rules-based policies, encryption for communications and the ability to manage restricted and private communities, according to the company.

It also will support integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange, and EMC's Documentum product. Cisco also is bringing its own collaboration products to Quad, including integration with Cisco Unified Communications solutions, WebEx conferencing, and Show and Share social video technology.

Cisco's Quad platform-named after college quads, where students and faculty tend to congregate socially-comes as people have branched out in their use of Facebook and MySpace, moving from using the sites simply as a way of keeping in touch socially to conducting business, according to analysts. It brings with the social networking functionality while imposing tight security and policy oversight.

Cisco is looking to take advantage of the prevalent social networking use to help businesses increase productivity and collaboration within their firewalls.

It also comes as other vendors, including Google with its recently announced Wave product, SAP's 12Sprint offering and Microsoft via SharePoint, aim to help companies increase their collaboration capabilities.

Cisco Quad reportedly has been into a beta test in the fall. The company showed off Quad in its booth at the VoiceCon 2010 show in March in Orlando, Fla.