Cisco : Interoperability issues limit enterprises from a free mix and match of components

Cisco forecasts the emergence of video to be a market
changing trend, which is growing exponentially. The industry is at the tipping
point of the market transition around video, where fundamental business models
are being built around these new video enabled endpoints. Cisco’s technology
vision is to make network as the platform for effective business collaboration
and rich end user experience by embedding intelligent applications and
information systems into the network itself.
Minhaj Zia, national sales manager, Cisco India &
SAARC, shares latest trends in unified communications market.



How is video emerging as a market changing


What we’re experiencing in terms of demand from key
decision makers is fundamentally a want for technology solutions that are only
cost effective but time effective as well. They are looking for technology that
will make communication easy, fast and efficient. Reaching out to a subject
matter expert or even a panel of experts based across the country should be a
simple task and collaboration between teams and companies separated by
geographical borders must be a constant and seamless activity. Multimedia
conferencing tools such as WebEx and TelePresence have experienced terrific
demand from CIOs. This has been further augmented by growth in the adoption of
smart devices such as tablets, smart phones etc. These devices, which are much
in demand in the workplace now- a trend that only promises to grow, serve a
dual purpose wherein they can serve a professional and personal use.


Cisco forecasts the emergence of video to be a market
changing trend, which is growing exponentially. Currently we are at the tipping
point of the market transition around video, where fundamental business models
are being built around these new video enabled endpoints. Additionally, we’re
also seeing a demand for video at one’s desktop as compared to a demand that
was previously limited to conference rooms. TelePresence encourages businesses
to cross borders and interact at a personalized level. Use of video has
percolated across the rank and file of companies – in Cisco’s own experience,
we were able to bring down travel expenses from approximately $750mn a year to
$200 million, and an average of 8000 TP meetings a week – this was even before
the acquisition of Tandberg.


Enterprise Social Software is generating great interest
amongst corporate IT planners/decision makers. In fact, according to Cisco’s
Collaboration Nations 2010 report, 60 percent of the users surveyed admitted to
ignore the company’s social media policies at least once a day while close to
20% claims that they ignore these policies multiple times a day. ESS is not a
replacement for publicly available Social Networking tools. It attempts to use
the concept of social media to improve productivity at work.  Some reasons
why this software is in demand is because the need for socially driven
collaboration has increased. Virtual teams and communities can quickly share
ideas through blogs and wikis, schedule meetings and enable IM, voice, and video


What are your new offerings? What are the new
benefits to customers?


Cisco has recently launched the Cius, our enterprise
tablet. It is a mobile collaboration tablet built for business. It is designed
to help organizations capitalize on the value of mobility by enabling anywhere,
anytime access to important business features. It enables collaboration so that
organizations can quickly adapt to market changes while increasing
productivity, improving competitive advantage through speed and innovation, and
delivering a rich-media experience across any workspace, securely and with
optimal quality.


We are also excited about recently launched Quad, our
secure enterprise collaboration platform that helps solve the challenges of
mobility, social networking, and dispersed teams. It combines the power of
social networking with communications, business information, and content
management systems. At the same time, it meets IT’s needs for policy
management, scalability, security, and ease of management.



How are interoperability issues affecting the
market growth?


One of the major limitations in the Indian market is the
government regulation on PSTN and VoIP interconnection, which limits the full
potential of an IP telephony system.


Interoperability is yet another issue that needs to be
resolved. Not all phones, soft phones, gateways, call managers are
interoperable as they support some proprietary variant of a standard protocol.
This limits enterprises from a free mix and match of components. The usage of
open standards can tackle this issue. Many suppliers have developed products
that support open standards such as the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP
not only allows for VoIP communication but also supports video, fax, presence
and instant messaging. Open standards are important because they provide a
foundation that can be built upon.


One common problem faced in the deployment of enterprise
applications is often the kind of bandwidth available for use within the office
space. While we have definitely seen the digital divide reduce, we still have a
long way to go. A 2 mbps connection, for the year, continues to be quite
expensive prompting many organizations to opt for connectivity of poor quality.
This, sometimes, affects the performance of enterprise technologies and tools
and does not leverage the truest capabilities of the application in question;
optimal use is not made.


Is UC losing its importance in developed and
developing countries?


The Cisco Connected World Report, a study which was
recently conducted across 13 countries including India, showed some very
interesting results – two of three workers expect IT to allow access to
corporate information with any device – personal or company-issued.
Interestingly, workers rated ability to work anywhere, anytime, as stronger
than desire for higher salary. The Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast also
predicts that by 2015, more than 5.6 billion personal devices will be connected
to mobile networks, and there will also be 1.5 billion machine-to-machine nodes
– nearly the equivalent of one mobile connection for every person in the world.


The need for mobility has becoming pressing and we’re
bound to see this increase. Work is not limited to the office and the
requirement for the ability to work inside and outside the office space has
gained significance. With the advent of the cloud and related applications,
distance from one’s workplace is no longer an excuse to be unable to perform a
task. Enterprise gadgets now must support this kind of flexibility and give
employees the freedom to contribute from anywhere.


Over the last year we have also seen a clear upward trend
in the adoption of tablet PCs. This will give way to a demand for enterprise
tablets. These will allow organizations to incorporate the work element in to
their tablet-use. Dual use of enterprise gadgets is also a trend that will
continue to gain momentum. Whether it is one’s tablet PC or laptop, employees
look to these gadgets for personal and work-related operations. Gadgets need to
be able to efficiently support both kinds of activities. Clearly, whether its
increased mobility or using gadgets at home and the workplace, an emerging
trend in the enterprise space seems to be the demand for mobile


It is clear that
there is a huge market waiting out there to be tapped and companies are focused
on addressing it. However, in order to effectively tap this segment, it is
important that vendors develop customized solutions, which offer a
cost-effective and easy to deploy alternative.


Over the long term, opportunities even exist to design
entirely new businesses and approaches using mobility, such as virtual
manufacturing, virtual meetings, virtual logistics or new modes of operations,
such as office- less business. ERP and CRM applications linked to mobility will
also be seen in years to come.



By Team
[email protected]