For Richard McLeod, director of unified communications solutions for Cisco's worldwide channels team, there may be no more exciting piece of Cisco's portfolio than the video, unified communications and IP telephony products his team manages through the channel. The company's significant acquisitions in the space--most recently the $3 billion pickup of videoconferencing market leader Tandberg--are also playing a big role in how that portfolio evolves.
"Our core IP telephony business has been very strong; we're actually close to announcing our 25 millionth handset being deployed," McLeod said. "The application business is growing, and that cuts across a number of things, but I would say specifically unified messaging, our WebEx conferencing applications and our contact center applications.
Cisco bested Microsoft and D-Link in the UC/VoIP category of this year's ARC with an overall weighted total score of 80. In the quality and reliability criteria for products, Cisco notched a 97.7 score--more than 10 points higher than either Microsoft or D-Link--and saw similar, wide-margin victories in just about every other criteria.
"The stability of Cisco is very important, as is the fact that they're very diversified. They've always had one of the strongest partner programs of any vendor regardless of voice or data, and productwise, they bring the whole architecture," said Robert Keblusek, senior vice president of business development at Sentinel Technologies, Downers Grove, Ill.