Back in 2007 I penned a post that was all about divergence. While convergence remains the rage in many parts, and still is looming, I have felt for three years or so that divergent devices are the key to communications. Well it seems Cisco thinks the same way with the Cius (cute name and play on words.) But this also means it's the dawning of services convergence in the palm (pun intended) of your hands.
Sam Diaz over at ZDNet and many others have their comments,
like 9to5Mac calling it an "enterprise Android Tablet" while Computerworld/IDG's summary clearly shows how Cisco is approaching video, and yes Android, but reveals that the networking giant is also realizing that Apple, the iPhone and eventually the iPad are going to be devices that need to talk to their customers too.
Here's how I see it:
1. Cisco is moving big time into video. They are reportedly dropping standalone audio conferencing from their WebEx portfolio.
2. Android as a starting OS and Intel as the hardware players of choice gives them massive developer bases to work with
3. Recognizing that Apple has an audience with the iPhone's iOS 4 shows they really don't care what an enterprise is running, as long as it's Cisco
4. The acquisition of Flip is providing the core team/technology to be in the handheld telepresence anywhere game.
5. The iPad needs a camera.
6. Standards will be key. H.264 video is now the defacto standard.
7. HP needs to play catch up. While they rejigger Halo and start to migrate their suite users over to Vidyo they lack anything handheld that's linked up the food chain. For Cisco Flip + Tandberg + Cius + FaceTime = Telepresence Everywhere for the enterprise.
8. Boy Genius Report calls it a "mobile collaboration business tablet" and I agree, but it goes farther than that. It's face to face from anyone to anyone, anywhere and at anytime, without being bound to a room, desk or PC.
9. Mashable's recap reveals that the device has 3G inside. That means AT&T, Orange, Telstra, etc. will be the wireless data partners. Why do I say that? Because they are the Cisco Telepresence partners and with Cisco, they use their existing channels to drive distribution.
10. Stacy @ GigaOm references 4G, so it will be interesting to see if Cisco dances with Mobile WiMax or goes only LTE. My guess is that they go LTE.
Key points not brought up by others yet:
Where's the interoperability with Skype? SightSpeed? ooVoo? Given the love of h.264 client CounterPath, who is already in the Cisco eco-system is very well poised to be a winner here. Why? Their desktop and laptop Bria and Eyebeam are perfect for the stationary folks as those softphone clients are already delivering H.264 video and work with Cisco Call Manager, etc. My feeling is that Skype will end up being interoperable too, but ooVoo will have to play some catch up as they are not an eco-system player yet. That said, former client up until acquisition SightSpeed is built to be very eco-system friendly (and proved it when they were independent) plus with their core technology, and that of stablemate LifeSize (both were purchased by Logitech) means they have some very interesting patents and network technology that will make them a force too, so don't count them out at all.
Bridging services just became really important. Client GlowPoint recently announced a relationship with Tata, a tier one Cisco partner in the Telepresence Suite universe that Cisco holds holy. They bridge to everyone. So think about how client xConnect is building peering federations for voice and apply that thinking to Glowpoint and you'll see they're already there at being the video communication's switchboard. Given how everyone doesn't use Cisco or Tandberg, but people will still need to "see" one another, well you get the (Glowpoint) picture as clearly as I do.
All in all this is very good for a lot of reasons, but most of all, it simply means more FaceTime.