Cisco Puts Enterprise Mobility in Motion

New open wireless platform aims to increase Cisco's mobility presence.

Cisco plans to muscle into the wireless enterprise space with a new platform offering an open application programming interface. The $20,000 platform consolidates and supports a wide array of mobility services across both wireless and wired networks.

Rick McConnell, Cisco vice president and general manager for unified communications, told eWEEK during a private briefing in San Francisco that Cisco's vision for mobility "is primarily a series of services to provide for an increasingly mobile work force."

McConnell also said Cisco is trying to respond to consumer and end-user demand "for new [mobile] devices coming into the enterprise."

Underscoring the company's commitment to end user needs within the enterprise, he said Cisco recruited former Apple designer Cordell Ratzlaff to work on new user interfaces. In the past, McConnell admitted, Cisco "has not always been focused on the user experience."

Known as Cisco Motion, the company's new 3300 Series MSE (Mobility Services Engine) is designed to push business mobility into its next generation by promoting broader collaboration and new levels of productivity. Cisco said its new platform separates the network from the services part of the architecture, allowing customers to knit together local networks with outside cellular systems.

Cisco's partner ecosystem for the new platform includes Nokia and Oracle, technology partners such as AeroScout, Agito Networks and Airetrak, and industry-specific application partners such as IntelliDOT and Johnson Controls (healthcare) and OATSystems (manufacturing).

"Today's business mobility challenges cannot be solved using only traditional wireless LAN solutions when multiple network elements are converging and need to collaborate," Brett Galloway, senior vice president of Cisco's Wireless and Security Technology Group, said in a statement. "Cisco's Motion approach is a true services-oriented network architecture that creates a mobility network as a platform for integrating key business strategies, processes and goals."

Cisco is releasing four initial software programs for the new platform: a context-aware package, an adaptive wireless intrusion prevention system, a secure client manager program and a mobile roaming package. The Cisco MSE and its software integrate with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network portfolio, Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco-compatible devices to expand the reach of an enterprise's mobility system.

Cisco's new system, scheduled for a June release, aims to help businesses manage disparate networks, such as Wi-Fi, cellular, passive RFID, personal wireless, sensors and Ethernet, by unifying networks, managing and securing the growing number of devices attached to networks, fostering collaboration and opening up development to third parties.

Cisco is also continuing previously announced integration work with both Microsoft and IBM products. In September, it will roll out inter-domain presence federation, which will allow customers who work in different companies to communicate more effectively by showing their presence information.

It will also announce new integrations with IBM's Lotus Sametime client in June, including the ability to control a hard phone from the Sametime cllient.