Cisco Offers Taste Of Tandberg Product Road Map


At first glance, the moves show Cisco preserving much of Tandberg's flagship videoconferencing lines and integrating Tandberg's technology into its own video and telepresence families, with an eye toward minimal disruption of Tandberg's channel.

Cisco said in a statement Monday that the previously described plan to form a Cisco TelePresence Technology Group is still a go, as is the plan to create an architecture for supporting Tandberg products and other platforms integrated with Cisco.

The new details from Cisco are around what product lines will appear within that group, and they include the following:

Immersive TelePresence, which will include Cisco's TelePresence System 3000 line and Tandberg's Total Telepresence Solution (including Tandberg's T3 and T1 lines).

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Multipurpose Room Systems, which will include Tandberg's Profile Series and Cisco's TelePresence System 1300 (the 3200, 3210, 3000 and 3010 models of Cisco TelePresence belong in the Immersive group).

Personal Systems, which will include Tandberg personal systems and Cisco TelePresence System models 1100 and 500.

Platform Portfolio, which will include Tandberg's C-series, MXP codecs, set-top systems and PC video and high-definition cameras.

Infrastructure, which will include both companies' entire infrastructure portfolios and be, according to Cisco, "the basis of the Cisco TelePresence architecture."

Telepresence as a Service, which will include Cisco TelePresence Exchange and Cisco TelePresence Public Suites.

Tucked deep into the announcement is another crucial piece of channel information, too:

"It has also been determined that Tandberg sales and channels organization will become a specialist sales team within Cisco after close in order to assure customers they will continue to benefit from the same trusted relationships they currently enjoy with Cisco or Tandberg representatives."

Cisco on Dec. 4 confirmed it had control of enough Tandberg shares to complete its acquisition, about two months after it first bid to acquire the company and kicked off several weeks of consternation over a perceived lowball offer.

The acquisition effectively redraws the lines in the video market, with a former major player -- and by most accounts, the market leader for videoconferencing hardware -- off the table.

Competitors have responded, of course, with Logitech buying LifeSize Communications and Polycom -- perhaps Tandberg's most direct rival -- refashioining its own channel program and partnering with a number of Cisco rivals to capitalize on potential Cisco-Tandberg channel turmoil.

The way Cisco has organized its new TelePresence group suggests the networking titan has done so with an eye toward each market segment: the separation between high-end TelePresence systems and the midmarket-oriented products where Cisco will more effectively compete with niche video vendors.

Expect video opportunities for solution providers to be a major focus of Cisco's Partner Summit in April.

At a recent conference held by solution provider NWN Corp., Cisco's Wendy Bahr, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada channels, said that video will be a game-changer for businesses in much the way the Internet was early on.

"Video is going to change not only every aspect of personal lives but our professional lives as well," she said. "Architectures don't come together overnight. They are hard-to-build platforms requiring a lot of integration,and a lot of connectivity and strategy to ensure you have a good strong end-to-end solution. [You've] seen us the last couple of years really investing in architecture strategies without coming out and saying so."

Queries to Cisco for further comment were not immediately returned.

STEVEN BURKE contributed to this story.