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Of all the news from last week's Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego, it's Cisco's Jabber for Everyone play -- in which it will make presence and IM capabilities and Cisco Jabber clients available at no additional licensing cost to Cisco customers -- that should pay immediate dividends, partners say.
Cisco's Barry O'Sullivan, senior vice president and general manager, Collaboration Technology Group, confirmed at the Partner Summit that presence and IM capabilities and Cisco Jabber clients are now available for Cisco Unified Communications Manager customers for free.
Cisco acquired Jabber in September 2008 and has continued to fine-tune the plaform, positioning Jabber as a way for customers to embed Cisco-related UC functions, from presence to video, into a wide range of devices and operating systems. Collaboration overall is at least a $42 billion opportunity for the channel, Cisco has said, and Jabber is a key piece of its strategy.
If solution providers can entice customers to Jabber with easy access to IM and presence, those customers are more inclined to invest in other UC and collaboration tools and leverage Jabber to do so, O'Sullivan said.
"Consequently, once licensed for additional workloads, customers can use Jabber to move beyond IM to more advanced collaboration capabilities that can transform their business -- such as enabling employees to easily engage in a TelePresence meeting from their mobile devices," wrote O'Sullivan in a post to Cisco's Collaboration blog last week.
Steve Reese, vice president of collaboration and security architecture at Presidio, a Greenbelt, Md.-based solution provider, saluted Cisco's move as a way to get Jabber in the hands of more customers, more quickly, at less cost to both solution providers and end users.
"On the surface it doesn't look like much, but this gives us an ability to deliver," Reese said. "IM and presence are table stakes. They're an expectation. They're a means to an end. They're my ability to see what skills are available to me to launch another wave of more advanced communication: a voice call, a video call, a Web conference. We need to get there faster."
To get customers comfortable with Cisco UC systems and their ability to do those more sophisticated communications, Presidio was absorbing much of the Jabber license costs itself, Reese sad.
"We were offloading that cost because we knew there was a bigger element that fell on the end of it -- we didn't want the cost of those licenses to be a stumbling block to getting to that next level," he said. "We don't want to spend $1 million to make $100,000 decisions. We do want to spend $100,000 to make $1 million decisions, and make them faster. So we look at Jabber as an entree to getting to that total connectivity. The brick-and-mortar challenge of any organization that has more than a few branches is how do you scale your best resources everywhere."