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Cisco Cius hinges on video for collaboration

This blog comes in from SearchUC’s editorial director, Sue Fogarty, who has been immersed in all things Cisco at this Cisco Live conference this week in Las Vegas. Be sure to check out her video with Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior (after the jump) about the new Cisco Cius and her views on why video is so integral to the future of communications …

John Chambers surprised the crowd at Cisco Live today by introducing the Cius (“see-us”), a tablet device poised to take on the iPad and give gadget-enamored business users a reason to be giddy. Looking at first blush like a large IP desk phone, the Cius’ screen detaches to provide users with personal HD TelePresence, unified communications and virtual desktop functionality on the go.

Touted as a “mobile platform for collaboration,” the device hinges on growth of video usage in the enterprise, which Cisco has been espousing for the past few years. “Video is the voice of the future,” declared Chambers as he announced the Cius, predicting that video will transform business supply chains. The new device was built not only to support real-time video collaboration and streaming; it also has an integrated video camera and still camera for content creation and sharing. (See video below the jump…)

Cius is based on Google’s Android platform. Although applications are not developed for the device yet because it has been kept under wraps, said Chambers, Cisco will offer collaboration APIs in a software development kit and looks forward to expanding applications. He expects the Cius to have quickest adoption in the education and healthcare verticals, where technology change is needed and impact will be felt the most.

The device supports Cisco Unified Communications Manager including WebEx, Cisco Quad, presence, messaging and TelePresence. It is Wi-Fi and 3G enabled and also supports Bluetooth and Micro-USB.

Despite the enthusiasm shown by Cisco for its new offspring, reaction from attendees at the conference was lukewarm. Many saw the launch as Cisco’s way of jumping on the iPad/iPhone/iPod bandwagon in an attempt to take some “prosumer” dollars from Apple, but viewed it as a savvy business decision by Cisco, if not an earth-shattering development in the way of UC or networking technology. “It makes sense, but it’s not something I’ll be putting in my budget soon,” said network engineer Carl Wilson.

Others dismissed it as part of the game Cisco must play in its bid to become a household name around the world. “It’s just a toy,” noted VoIP trainer Jeremy Cioara.

Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior talks about the new Cisco Cius and her views on why video is so integral to the future of communications. Seated beside Warrior is John McCool, SVP of data center switching and services.

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