Can Cisco Cius convince enterprises?


Unlike the hugely popular Apple iPad, the seven-inch,
Android-based Cius was designed with the company’s existing customer base in
mind and is, in Ovum’s opinion, destined to replace the corporate desktop
feature phone that Cisco sells today. Cisco has also launched an enterprise”
app store, AppHQ. This new service addresses many of the concerns of business
and IT managers, but its Cius-only focus limits its utility and value,
according to Ovum.


The market for hard IP phones is estimated to be 15 -18
units this year, and Cisco‘s
device will probably account for approximately one-third of this number.
However, with knowledge workers in particular abandoning their feature phones
in favor of the smartphone and contact center managers eyeing up the
thin-client market, Cisco needs to come up with a convincing replacement device
that is able to satisfy the needs of the business as well as the end user.


The Cius presents a reasonably good replacement for an
IP-based feature phone. Key features of the device include support for the
company’s high-end video conferencing system and tight integration with its
business social software, Cisco Quad. However, perhaps the most alluring feature
of the Cius is its ability to replace the traditional desktop PC through the
use of virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI).


To accomplish this transformation, the Cius must be used
alongside desktop virtualization solutions from the likes of Citrix, VMware, or
Wyse. The transformation of the Cius tablet into a PC replacement is completed
by using the optional HD media station with its USB ports, wired Ethernet
connectivity, and handset option. To some, this configuration will sound
remarkably like the ICL One Per Desk of the early 1980s, but this time the user
can put it in his or pocket.


Ovum has yet to be convinced that the Cisco Cius is
going to be a winner in the enterprise tablet market, but if the following
points are all true, further investigation is undoubtedly warranted,” said Richard Edwards,
principal analyst at Ovum.


Apple’s iOS devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, have
already scaled the corporate firewall and are in use daily within organizations
large and small. Like King Canute trying to hold back the tide, corporate IT
managers are now getting their feet wet as senior business mangers look to them
for support and integration of these innovative devices.


Currently most iOS devices are being used to access
corporate email and a collection of cloud-based services. Commercial apps can,
of course, be purchased, downloaded, and installed by users through Apple’s App
Store. However, if an organization wants to distribute an app to its employees,
the app must be routed through Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program – a process
of which some enterprises are wary. In addition, IT managers want to control
what app users have access to, lest they introduce risk and compliance issues.


Cisco has always played a role in enterprise IT security
and governance and, in Ovum’s opinion, the announcement of Cisco AppHQ
(described by the company as an enterprise-class application ecosystem)
represents a significant step forward in the app market as it provides business
users, IT managers, and developers with a trusted source for tested and
validated business-centric apps. Ovum has not yet determined if AppHQ is any
less convoluted than Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program, but Cisco is
inferring as much.


Cisco AppHQ Manager builds on the capabilities of AppHQ
and provides IT managers with much-needed administration and control
facilities. Using AppHQ, organizations can control which apps users have access
to (including Android Market and Amazon AppStore) and how these are paid for.
Today, AppHQ is solely for Cius tablets, but Cisco has not ruled out supporting
other tablet devices in the future. This is something Ovum believes is crucial
to ensuring the long-term success of this important market initiative.


By Team
[email protected]