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Bob Olwig, vice president of business strategy and marketing at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based Cisco Gold partner, said Cisco's end-to-end strategy for attacking the collaboration, video and bring-your-own-device opportunities is appealing to customers.
"The story resonates quite well with enterprise customers that are trying to manage all of these mobile devices -- all the smartphones and tablets," Olwig told CRN. "The next question that comes up quickly is the network infrastructure to support that device, and how's that managed, and is it secure. I think Cisco does a good job answering all three of those questions."
The bring-your-own-device issue comes up in every one of his CIO conversations, Olwig said. Last fall, World Wide Technology created a new practice within its overall security practice to address those customer pain points.
"We developed a whole methodology and assessment and workshop approach, not unlike what we've done for data center and virtualization," Olwig explained. "But this has been the most popular and sought-after technology discussion I think World Wide has ever had. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets mean that CIOs and IT directors feel a sense of urgency. A lot of them feel that for their enterprises to be successful and attract the new generation of talent, they have to get this right, and a lot of them are worried they aren't prepared for it."
Olwig said Jabber and Cisco's Telepresence are strong products but he expects Cisco to continue to add more features to its collaboration portfolio, particularly in mobile device management. World Wide relies on a mix of smaller vendors, such as MobileIron, to complement Cisco bring-your-own-device-centric products such as the Cisco Identity Services Engine.
"ISE is a good product and getting a lot of interest, and we work with two or three different partners for mobile device management features with Cisco as the anchor in terms of the underlying network infrastructure," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if Cisco organically adds [mobile device management features] or makes the type of acquisition they've historically had success with."
Among various collaboration and UC tools, video is expected to be a hot market throughout the next few years. Infonetics Research recently pegged the enterprise spend on videoconferencing and telepresence hardware to be a cumulative $22 billion from 2012 to 2016.
The space has been a magnet for consolidation, including Cisco's 2010 acquisition of Tandberg, Polycom's 2011 acquisition of Hewlett-Packard's visual collaboration portfolio, Logitech's 2009 acquisition of LifeSize and, most recently, Avaya's $230 million acquisition of Radvision.