Enterprise software vendor Cisco is focusing on increasing the scale and easing the process of B2B video collaboration and communication with several new technology releases and upgrades.

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Most significantly, Cisco is integrating its TelePresence and WebEx platforms. One important development is that TelePresence users can now invite external users to join a TelePresence conference through a WebEx link in their browser. “Video collaboration can occur across organizational boundaries,” Cisco VP/GM Thomas Wyatt told CMSWire during a recent phone briefing.

The TelePresence-WebEx integration also allows users to schedule combined TelePresence-WebEx meetings and to share video and other content to any device or endpoint. “You have the flexibility to communicate and collaborate with any device via video, Web conference, voice, etc.,” explained Wyatt.

According to Wyatt, joint TelePresence-WebEx conferences allow users to “create a virtual meeting room experience down to the BYOD point.”

In addition, upgrades to the Cisco medianet IP architecture automatically sync all network endpoints and also allow the medianet to perform tasks such as monitoring video traffic from all network endpoints, locating bandwidth and quality issues and adjusting video meetings. The network can also obtain detailed information on each end user, endpoint and specific piece of content, enabling automatic prioritization of content and delivery of video to top users.

Other improvements include software that automatically measures and delivers the precise network resources needed to support a virtual meeting, which Cisco says can allow up to 70 percent greater usage of collaboration infrastructure and scale video more cost-effectively.

“We want to make video the new dial tone,” said Wyatt. “It should be as reliable and scalable as voice. Cisco is not releasing a video product, but a video architecture.”

Preparing for ‘Explosive Growth’ in Video 

IDG News Service says that Cisco is “readying product improvements designed to simplify the management of videoconferencing traffic and to streamline its use for employees” in response to anticipated “explosive growth in video communications.” IDG cites internal Cisco data which predicts an increase in enterprise desktop video conferencing users from 36.4 million users in 2011 to 218.9 million by 2016. 

Opening Communications 

Cisco’s new enhancements to the scale and flexibility of video communication fit in with a larger strategy the company is taking to make B2B communications of all types as open as possible. In June 2012, Cisco released the WebEx Social 3.0 application -- designed to break organizational silos and bring as many employees into the “virtual water cooler” as possible.

“Whether it’s BYOD, remote office, home office or field workers, more people are working flexibly,” Raj Gossain, VP of Product Management, Collaboration Software Group at Cisco, said during an interview with CMSWire at the time. “People feel disconnected when they’re on email or a voice on the end of an audio conference call.” Cisco’s latest efforts to integrate TelePresence and WebEx to make video more of a mainstream B2B communication medium are more steps in the same direction.