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Cisco Expands Its Collaboration Offerings

In a move to provide more “people-centric” than “document-centric” solutions, Cisco will broaden its business productivity offerings and compete with IBM, HP, Microsoft, and Google. Specifically, the company announced Cisco Show and Share, a collaboration tool, and Cisco WebEx Mail, a mail client using software from PostPath, one of Cisco’s acquisitions.

Cisco Show and Share is being termed a “social video system,” and will help communities “create and manage highly secure video communities.” It also provides users with the ability to edit and share video comments, and offers tagging and RSS feed functionality, as well as speech-to-text transcription. Show and Share will only be offered on-premise for now, and Cisco WebEx Mail will be cloud-based. WebEx Mail will also have Outlook interoperability.

With this move into the collaboration tools market, Cisco takes on Google (whose Wave client offers real-time collaboration) and Microsoft (whose productivity suite recently saw a price decrease). In fact, Cisco WebEx Mail will offer the same ability to collaborate with anyone over the Internet Google Wave does.

Pricing for Cisco’s new products is still being determined, and the company states that in the future, there will be on-premise and on-demand offerings of both. It will be interesting to see what else Cisco has up its sleeve, because this is a company that has aggressively widened its reach during the recession—including various CRM capabilities—and will certainly emerge from it as more than a web conferencing provider.

[Photo courtesy of eweek.]