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Google Wave & Cisco WebEx: The best of frenemies?

Just got off the phone with Vanessa Alvarez, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, who suggested that rather than Google Wave threatening Cisco WebEx and other collaboration vendors, this could be a perfect opportunity for unlikely partnerships.

“The Ciscos and Siemens and other UC vendors should be looking at this concept to see what they can do to [learn from] or even to interoperate with this platform,” she said. “There’s been talk about Cisco WebEx, and it’s really prime to interconnect with Google Wave.”

But wait, isn’t Google Wave infringing on Cisco and Siemens hard fought turf?

Alvarez said it can be a win-win, because Google’s had trouble penetrating the enterprise market while the UC traditional vendors have stumbled drumming up developer support.

“We’ve told the UC community to start nurturing their own developers, and Avaya has DevConnect, but Cisco has had trouble with that,” she said.

Whatever partnerships follow from the Wave announcement, Alvarez said she’s excited about its potential.

“It’s definitely ground breaking in the sense of what it does, it definitely revolutionizes the current state of the market today,” she said. “But it has a long way to go. It still is in a very infant state.”

There’s even Google Wave discussion on Cisco‘s own forums, where Dan Miller, founder and analyst with Opus Research, writes in a posting:

In the near term a feature called “playback” is destined to be the difference maker. It is a feature that enables Wave users to tap into conversations at any point in time – past or present. While it is tempting to think of such a conversation as a “thread” in a email trail or discussion group, tapping into (and reviewing the entries to) a Wave is tangibly different. Most dramatically, entries are displayed on the screens of all participants in real time (or close to it). So there are times when participants, literally, work on the same documents at the same time. To paraphrase Gene Kelly: “That’s Collaboration.”

Playback is also the doctor’s prescription for social media-driven attention deficit disorder. It is the mechanism that enables people to search and tap into an ongoing “thread”, review it from the beginning and work up to real time. But, as the infomercial goes “that’s not all”. Wave enables picture sharing and the addition of any media feed for that matter.

Read more at SearchUnifiedCommunications about Google Wave’s UC potential.

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