Collaboration technology is all about being able to connect and communicate. For Cisco, the goal is to enable collaboration for all types of users including those that are mobile as well as on-premise.
To that end, Cisco today announced new collaboration offerings for the Apple iPad as well as a new telepresence system that integrates the best of Tandberg technology with Cisco.
On the mobile front, Cisco is announcing Jabber for iPad. Jabber is Cisco's presence and messaging collaboration platform. Jabber is already available for the iPhone in a pair of separate apps, one for instant messaging and the other for unified communications (UC). In contrast, the new Jabber for iPad app is designed as a complete iPad-optimized UC client.
"In one product you have IM, presence, voice, video and desktop sharing," Michael Smith, group director of Marketing for Cisco collaboration, told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet.com. "For us, this represents our first truly converged collaboration client on a mobile platform."
The Jabber for iPad solution isn't just an extension of Cisco's existing technologies, it also includes new video capabilities that come from Cisco's Tandberg acquisition. Cisco acquired Tandberg for $3.3 billion in 2010.
"As part of the Tandberg acquisition, we acquired a high-performance software end-point that we've now integrated into Jabber for iPad," Smith said. "It makes Jabber for iPad an H.264-compliant end point that will connect to any standards-based video system."
What that means is an iPad user can remotely connect into a telepresence event or even to a Jabber for Windows. Jabber for Windows is also getting enhanced with a new user experience that will be similar to what iPad users will receive. Windows users will also benefit from the H.264 video capabilities.
Jabber is already fully integrated into the Cisco Cius tablet, which is built on top of Google's Android mobile operating system. That said, the new Jabber that is being rolled out for Windows and iPad will not be available for other types of Android tablets.
"Android tablets have not garnered as much interest and market share as iPad has," Smith said. "Today, we do have a Jabber client that runs on Samsung Galaxy phones, but it's not the same experience."
Cisco is also moving to improve its in-room video experience with the new TX9000 Telepresence system. The system includes three 60 inch Plasma screens running 1080p video at 60 frames per second. The system will make data a first class citizen alongside video and voice with the integrated ability to display content on the screens alongside the video feed. The new system also promises to operate with 20 percent less bandwidth than Cisco previous top-end system.
Smith explained that the bandwidth reduction was achieved by way of improved video CODECs. The system also benefits from the integration of Tandberg technology that has been extended in the TX9000.
The TX9000 is targeted to begin shipping in the second quarter of calendar year 2012 with the advanced collaboration and content sharing features targeted for availability later in the calendar year, according to Cisco. List pricing in the United States starts at $299,000.
"This represent the coming together of what was the Tandberg T3 line and what was the Cisco CTS3000 line," Smith said. "It's the best of both worlds plus some new innovation."