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Thanks to Tandberg and other acquisitions, Cisco now has an answer for almost any type of video customer, from the consumer video enthusiast buying a Flip camera, to the TelePresence-craving enterprise CIO with a fat wallet.
It also has a vision for how to connect disparate video systems. Cisco's Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) -- for which it launched a new program, the TIP Open Source Project, in line with its Tandberg announcement Monday -- finds Cisco attempting to spur interoperability among systems using its technology.
But for now, there is Tandberg. The Tandberg products themselves become part of Cisco's TelePresence Technology group, to be headed up by former Tandberg CEO, and now Cisco Senior Vice President, Frederik Halvorsen.
By Cisco's estimation, it's a glove-fit, and may indeed become one of the most important Cisco acquisitions of recent years.
"Tandberg and Cisco are very complementary, as opposed to competitors," said Richard McLeod, director, collaboration go-to-market group, worldwide channels, in an interview before the acquisition was completed. "We have strong focus and energy around interoperability, and we're taking two very strong players to rise the level of the lake."
McLeod said that all pieces of the Cisco video portfolio -- from the highest-end TelePresence deployments on down -- had seen growth in the past year. According to a Cisco spokesman, Cisco has also added more than 150 new video partners since January 2009, inclusive of TelePresence, video surveillance and Cisco's Digital Media Suite.
But according to McLeod, Cisco wants its partners to view video not as endpoint resale but as the most critical piece of the collaboration and UC stories.
"You're opening up conversations and whole new budgets," he explained. "For partners, think about where your strengths are. What's the next natural extension of what you do that has video-enabled technology? We want to help them build out the next steps in advancing their practice."