By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service
Cisco on Tuesday announced that it is increasing the number of collaboration software products that its hosting partners can offer via the cloud, hoping to make the bundles more attractive to the partners and their customers.
At an announcement at its Collaboration Summit in Los Angeles, Cisco also said that it will provide its cloud-based WebEx web conferencing product for the first time as packaged software that customers can deploy on-premise or in a private cloud.
"We want to give our customers more choice in how they deploy our collaboration products," said Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Cloud Collaboration Applications Technology Group.
In the past year, Cisco has grown its roster of Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) partners from 16 to 34. This group of service providers, systems integrators, wholesalers and resellers that provide cloud-hosted Cisco collaboration software to their customers includes AT&T, Sprint, Telefonica, Verizon and Vodafone.
Products that HCS partners can offer their customers include Cisco's telepresence video-conferencing offerings, customer contact center software and unified communications applications.
The new telepresence offerings available to HCS partners include the ability to offer their customers the option to launch video conferences on an ad hoc basis, without the need for a reservation. Also new is partners' ability to manage their customers' back end video conferencing system, so that customers only need to invest in the video conferencing system installed in their offices.
Regarding customer contact center services, HCS partners can now manage multiple contact centers for their customers, and offer their customers' call center staffers a new software designed to help them better resolve callers' issues through workplace collaboration features.
In the unified communications bundle, HCS partners can now offer features like the ability for customers to have calls to their phones routed to the Cisco Jabber IM, web conferencing and voice and video communications application.
Meanwhile, Cisco plans to release in the fourth quarter a packaged version of its WebEx online meetings service so that enterprises can install it on premise or in a private cloud. This product, to be called WebEx Meetings Server, will include client software for Windows, MacOS and iOS devices, and will offer feature-parity with the existing public-cloud version of WebEx.
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