Verizon Leans on Cisco for New Cloud Collaboration Services

The carrier is basing the new offerings on such Cisco technologies as Jabber, Collaborative Meeting Room and WebEx Cloud Connected Audio.

cloud communications

Verizon Enterprise Solutions is leveraging its deep partnership with Cisco Systems to roll out new cloud-based communications offerings that address the rise of an increasingly mobile and collaborative workforce.

The service provider on Dec. 9 introduced new capabilities that are based on such Cisco technologies as Jabber, Collaborative Meeting Room and WebEx. They come as more executives and employees work from the road or remote offices and demand enterprise-level collaboration technologies that are as simple to use as those they use in their personal lives, according to Verizon officials.

"The rise of the mobile enterprise and necessity for voice, video and collaboration anywhere, at any time, requires solutions which can provide a seamless high-quality experience that doesn't distinguish between working in an office, from home or on the road," Janet Brumfield, director of corporate communications for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, wrote in a post on the company blog.

The Verizon news comes a day after Cisco executives unveiled significant enhancements to the company's collaboration portfolio that offer many of its conferencing and communications tools as cloud-based services.

The unified communications (UC) space is rapidly changing as companies look to software- and cloud-based offerings that make collaboration possible in an increasingly mobile business environment. A growing number of established vendors, including Microsoft, Cisco and ShoreTel, are rapidly growing their cloud capabilities, while smaller companies like 8x8, RingCentral and Thinking Phone Networks also are making moves. Carriers such as Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Earthlink also are players, according to analysts with IHS Infonetics.

Analysts with Research and Markets expect the global UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) market to grow from $15.12 billion this year to $24.88 billion by 2020.

Among Verizon's new offerings is its unified communications and collaboration-as-a-service (UCCaaS) Mobile First, which is based on Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution and offers users the ability to improve the audio and video performance of Cisco's Jabber client on Verizon's 4G LTE network. Through Jabber, users gain access to such capabilities as high-definition video calls, instant messaging and WebEx conferencing on any device, including PCs, smartphones and tablets. Using Verizon UCCaaS with the carrier's Private Network Traffic Management offering, customers get prioritized voice and video calls if they use the Jabber client on select 4G LTE smartphones and tablets, officials said.

In addition, Verizon is using Cisco's WebEx with Cloud Connected Audio and Collaboration Meeting Rooms to offer customers a cost-effect conferencing option while using any device they choose. Cloud Connected Audio lets enterprises improve their budgeting for conference services by enabling participants inside and outside the company to connect via an audio bridge. It also comes with tools that give users better ways to integrate visual and audio components in the conference, officials said.

In addition, the carrier offers an integrated platform and dedicated connectivity to a Verizon/Cisco data center that makes it easier to expand to meet the needs of the business.

Through Cisco's Collaboration Rooms, corporations get personalized collaboration meeting spaces that can be used through a single click. The service enables users to create and launch meetings via Jabber, connect as many as 1,025 participants to a single meeting and pay for it through a monthly subscription.