Cisco Wireless Launch Includes WebEx On the iPhone

Collaboration and UC on all devices – and a new wireless switch, as well

Networking giant Cisco is pulling together wireless and collaboration for mobile devices, in an initiative which includes web conferencing on the iPhone, and new office Wi-Fi equipment.

The Collaboration in Motion programme combines existing and new products and services, to put collaboration technology, such as video and unified communications on mobile devices including laptops and smartphones.

The strategy, announced 19 May, takes advantage of existing and new products and services in Cisco’s WebEx, Unified Communications, Unified Wireless Network and Advanced Services units to bring collaboration to what Cisco officials are calling the “mobile workspace.”

Cisco officials said the need for such a strategy is being driven by the changing demographics of the workplace.

“Evolving modern businesses are comprised of workspaces that are rarely physically connected, and critical business information is collected and shared with mobile devices, such as laptops and smartphones,” Ray Smets, vice president and general manager for the Cisco Wireless Networking Business Unit, said in a statement.

Cisco’s wide-ranging initiative touches on a number of areas, including expanding the number of devices its collaboration offerings reach. For example, Cisco is making its WebEx Meeting Center version 1.2 available on Apple’s iPhone 3G as a free download from Apple’s App Store. Cisco and Apple first announced such a collaboration in January.

In addition, Cisco is extending its Compatible Extension Services Program to enable device manufacturers to choose the most relevant service for their particular device. Such manufacturers as Atheros, Broadcom, Intel and Texas Instruments are signing onto the plan, Cisco officials said.

Cisco is also building an 802.11n wireless offering that includes access points, controllers, management capabilities and an open API that enables users to expose network data and services. The company’s new 5500 Series Wireless Controller offers improved performance in the delivery video and rich media to wireless devices, and its OfficeExtend is a wireless complement to its Virtual Office portfolio.

Cisco’s Aironet 1524 Mesh Access Point can extend wireless coverage across a number of indoor and outdoor workspaces, and its 3310 Mobility Services Engine supports existing mobility services and is aimed at SMBs.

A number of network assurance vendors, including RSA, ArcSight and NetScout Systems, are using an open API to bring their offerings to wireless customers through Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine.

Cisco is also creating a developer program called the Cisco Developer Network to encourage partners to create software that takes advantage of Cisco’s network platform. For the wireless space, the Cisco Developer Network Program for Mobility is designed to help the company and partners more quickly bring mobile solutions to market, company officials said. Offerings built through the community program are verified for integration with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network.

In addition, Cisco is offering expanded professional services to help businesses migrate from legacy wireless networks to 802.11n networks. The services touch on evaluating whether an environment is ready to move to a Wi-Fi network to helping them evaluate collaboration applications such as voice and video for their wireless environments.