Cisco Revamps Collaboration Line With New Video Systems, Business Edition Platform


Cisco also introduced Wednesday the BE7000, an integrated collaboration platform that, like the BE6000, offers voice, video, mobility, messaging, conferencing and contact center capabilities on a single box. While the BE6000 is targeted at smaller and midsize organizations with between 25 and 1,000 users, the BE7000 is targeted at larger organizations with 1,000 users and above.

The launch of the BE7000 comes roughly three months after Cisco discontinued the BE3000, another version of the platform that was targeted at the lower end of the market and, according to partners, was the perfect fit for organizations with fewer than 25 seats.

Cisco, since then, has recommended that SMB-focused partners sell the BE6000 as an alternative to the now-defunct BE3000, but some solution providers told CRN that that has been a challenge, given the longer deployment times required by the BE6000.

In an effort to combat this, Cisco Wednesday said it was offering a new "25-user starter license bundle" for the BE6000, along with a new wizards-based tool that can slash BE6000 deployment times from "days to minutes."

Still, some Cisco partners said they were disappointed that Cisco didn't unveil a new Business Edition platform specifically for organizations with fewer than 25 seats.

"Nothing has changed," said one SMB-focused Cisco partner, who asked not to be named. "They still haven't fully addressed the sub-25 market."

Cisco told CRN that partners are, in fact, "finding success" in selling the BE6000 to organizations with 25 or fewer seats. ENS Group's Savage said he's been one of them, and that he expects the new BE6000 video capabilities introduced this week -- including out-of-box functionality to connect with third-party video systems such as Microsoft Lync and Polycom -- to further fuel that success.

"I think that's where BE6000 really shines in the small arena -- video," said Savage. "If you can get somebody to appreciate the value the BE6000 brings to the table in terms of really being the only video system you can buy out of the box in the [SMB] space -- it's a great sell and it's an easy sell."

The BE7000 is selling for around $23,000, while the BE6000 starts at $9,900.

Cisco also said Wednesday it's updating its Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) to make it easier for mobile users to access the solution over the Internet without needing a VPN.

All of the new or updated products are due out in either April or May, Cisco said.

PUBLISHED MARCH 12, 2014