Cisco Cius Tablet Set for Verizon LTE 4G Network

Verizon is bringing Cisco's Cius business collaboration tablet to its LTE 4G broadband network in the spring.

Cisco Systems and Verizon Wireless are teaming up on a number of 4G broadband initiatives, including offering Cisco's Cius business communications tablet on Verizon's LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network.

Officials with the two companies, which made the announcements Jan. 6 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, also said they will roll out LTE interfaces for Cisco's second-generation ISR (Integrated Services Routers) aimed at enterprises and SMBs.

Officials with both Cisco and Verizon said the combination of Cisco's collaboration technology and Verizon's 4G network will improve how companies do business.

"Together we're taking the next step with the combination of the Cisco Cius mobile collaboration tablet and Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network," Janet Schijns, vice president of Business Solutions Group at Verizon Wireless, said in a statement. "Collaboration delivered over 4G LTE will be a whole new level of access for enterprise users."

Verizon launched its LTE 4G network last month, with officials saying it offers 10 times the speed of the company's 3G network. The company says the LTE network reaches a third of all Americans, and will cover Verizon's entire 3G network within three years.

Cisco unveiled its Android-based Cius tablet in June 2010, a device designed to run the company's host of collaboration and communications offerings, including WebEx online conferencing and high definition, and will be managed by Unified Communications Manager software. Users also get access to other Android applications.

The 7-inch Cisco device is unlike other tablets, such as Apple's iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab, in that it's designed primarily for business use, while the others target consumers, though they are making their way into the corporate world. The Cius can sit in a docking station or be used on the go, and offers both WiFi and broadband capabilities. While it has 4G capabilities, it also can support 3G networks.

The device is due to ship in March, and will be available on Verizon in the spring. Cisco officials at CES reportedly said they also are talking to other network providers.

"Knowledge workers are no longer tethered to a desk, and they require mobile devices to enable communications, collaboration and a computing solution in a form factor that is sanctioned by the IT organization," Steve Slattery, vice president and general manager of Cisco's IP Communications business unit, said in a statement. "The Cisco Cius, running on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, addresses just that and is optimized to deliver a superior experience for business productivity."

Rival Avaya in September 2010 introduced the Avaya Desktop Video Device, an 11.6-inch tablet device powered by Intel's Atom processor that also offers HD video and audio capabilities, and includes an interface that company officials say makes it easier to communicate with others. In addition, the interface can be rolled out to other desktop and mobile devices.

The tablet, which will offer campus-wide mobility via SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and WiFi, as well as 3G and 4G access, is part of Avaya's larger Avaya Flare Experience video communications initiative.

The combination of Cisco's ISR G2 products and Verizon's 4G LTE network will enable businesses to offer more and better collaboration and communication service to remote and branch offices to devices like the Cius. The Cisco LTE 4G Enhanced High-Speed WAN Interface Card also will let businesses deploy media-rich applications over a wireless WAN link, according to Cisco officials.

"The 4G LTE Interface card on the Cisco ISR G2 platform is a game changer for our customers, including Verizon Wireless, who are now able to deploy a rich set of productivity-enhancing solutions across its 4G LTE network," Praveen Akkiraju, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Service Routing Technology Group, said in a statement. "Our collaboration with Verizon Wireless enables enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses to create innovative services such as next-generation video-enabled ATMs and 'Shop-in-a-Box' retail solutions."