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Cisco Tuesday also said it has integrated its TelePresence and WebEx Web conferencing solutions to enable more collaboration and content-sharing. The integration will create a joint WebEx and TelePresence conferencing environment, through which users can join the same meeting and see the same video, regardless of whether they're accessing the session from a TelePresence or other standards-based video endpoint, or from a WebEx client on a PC or mobile device.
The WebEx-TelePresence integration will facilitate file sharing across the two solutions and offer an integrated scheduling tool from which users can send out meeting invites to any TelePresence or WebEx user through a single URL.
"Historically, there have been separate islands, whether it's Cisco or anyone else. There was a Web conferencing island and TelePresence island, and at best you could kind of stitch those islands together by conferencing them and getting at least the voice portion shared between the two," McLeod said. "Now, we are allowing these islands to come together from a scheduling standpoint, from a one-touch-to-join-the-meeting perspective, and full two-way interactivity of the content, the video and the voice."
McLeod said he anticipates the integration between the two solutions -- a move Cisco partners had been requesting for quite a while -- will help video-focused VARs embrace Web conferencing and extend their reach into the collaboration space.
"This is a real motivator now for our historic video partners to move into WebEx as the next natural progression, as they move into a broader collaboration play," McLeod said. "So this is additional revenue for them, additional profit for them, additional VIP [payouts] for them, and the ability to create a meeting experience that nobody else in the industry can provide."
Troy Treto, business video practice manager and team lead of Collaboration at Nexus IS, a Valencia, Calif.-based solution provider, said he was happy to finally see TelePresence-WebEx integration and he anticipates his customers will feel the same.
"Our customer base has been excited about this promise of a unified collaboration experience for some time, and now Cisco is delivering. It really breaks down the silos of collaboration by enabling our TelePresence customers to extend their video meetings beyond their video rooms to customers or partners or employees that may not have access to video codecs, which has been a major barrier to collaboration," Treto said. "Further, as a Cisco partner, it increases our value to our customers versus TelePresence competitors like Polycom, or Web collaboration competitors like GoToMeeting."
CDW's Dignan also said Cisco partners and customers have been requesting integration between WebEx and TelePresence for some time, especially with the mobility boom enabling more and more workers to connect outside the four walls of an office.
"This is something customers have been asking for and really demanding to get more investment out of their WebEx purchase and their video purchase," Dignan said.