Cisco recently put its fingerprints all over the Presence software market, lending some weighty, well, presence to the fledgling technology.
At the VoiceCon IP telephony conference earlier this month, Cisco announced its own Presence server, in addition to a relationship with Microsoft that will create interoperability between their Presence products. The company is also working with Citrix to integrate Presence and call processing capabilities into applications that have been deployed with Citrix Application Delivery solutions.
Cisco's Presence plan is not dissimilar to those of other vendors in the Presence market, such as Microsoft, IBM and Avaya. However, the networking giant's push forward adds momentum to a market that has been languishing and little understood.
"The concept of Presence has been talked about for a while. However, user adoption has been slow, since most companies do not understand how to fully leverage the technology," said Zeus Kerravala, vice president of infrastructure and security research at Boston-based Yankee Group. "Cisco's refocus on the business impact of Presence will allow companies to get better bang for their buck when investing in Presence software."
Cisco announced additions to the Cisco Unified Communications system, which until now included only Cisco CallManager, Cisco Unity, Cisco MeetingPlace, and Cisco IP Contact Center. The company has now added Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, Cisco Unified Presence Server, and Customer Interaction Analyzer.
"Presence has the potential to dramatically increase worker productivity, but the challenge for companies will be finding ways to integrate Presence into the work process," Kerravala said. "Companies are now focusing on growth instead of just reducing cost; Presence, integrated into workflow, has the power to do both."
At the VoiceCon 2006 conference, Cisco Systems and Microsoft also agreed to provide collaborative real-time capabilities by integrating Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 and the open Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 with the new SIP-based Cisco Unified Communications system. Microsoft also announced a similar agreement with Avaya, which markets the Avaya Communication Manager.
"Prior to this agreement, if you wanted to integrate with Avaya or Cisco, you would have to acquire a gateway between Live Communications Server and Cisco Call Manager," said Paul Duffy, Microsoft senior product manager, Unified Communications Group. "Cisco is exposing the protocol to make those calls. You no longer need to acquire a gateway, so the functionality is better."