Yesterday in San Francisco Google held another day of NEXT, their cloud focused coming out party of sorts. The event, which was massively retooled over the past 11 months carries with it a renewed focus on bringing the Google Cloud eco-system more to the forefront that it has been. Appearances from CEO Diane Greene and others are hammering that point home. Previously, Google I/O, the more hardware centric event held each may had been the darling "showcase" event for the Big G, but now with a strong team, and some smart messaging, Google is getting ready to be a "fighting" player against giants AWS and Microsoft Azure. The timing also was smartly planned, coming the week after Microsoft's big event the week prior in Las Vegas that was also about the eco-system.
One of the items beyond the dizzying number of announcements about Google's own efforts and appearances by their eco-system players was a Cisco announcement that Telecom Reseller highlighted.
The news pretty much said that Cisco is going all in with Google Cloud and establishing tighter integration between WebEX, Spark and Google's suite of applications including Calendar. If you recall, I've often said that Cisco and Microsoft are not friends, and here again you can see that clear as day. With the announcement, Cisco is saying they can't beat the competition or Google, so they are joining hands...
Each of these new service additions is also very me too for Cisco, not groundbreaking. If anything it's their taking a look at what's already working in the Google Cloud world and copying, not originating so let's take them one by one:
Give your contact center agents an AI-enhanced assist so they can answer questions quicker and better. - This is already being deployed by RingCentral and Dialpad in parts. Both, along with 8x8, had this in the news cycle back in May.
Schedule a Webex meeting within your Google Calendar with one click.- this functionality builds on what GoToMeeting, Zoom and UberConference have been doing with Calendar. Cisco is late to the party, but hey, WebEx isn't exactly the most innovative platform any longer. We all have been hoping that Spark brings some magic to it but mostly it's the same WebEx.
Add Cisco calling and meetings into your Android app -ok this is a neat one, almost cool, but app developers have been able to do things like this with WebRTC for a few years so other than keeping things on the Cisco platform, this is a ho hum one, that builds upon their own SIP stack and some of the Broadsoft pieces and parts.
Use Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms in your Webex Teams Spaces - this seems so much like a counter to Microsoft Teams and says you don't need Office 365 you can use Google's G Suite. This one is simply an API integration.
Sure for Google, this is a win. But for Cisco, it's basically saying it can't beat the others without Google.