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Cisco to connect video conferencing technology with Acano

Cisco acquisition of video conferencing technology specialist Acano would provide a bridge between Cisco UC software and Microsoft Skype for Business.

Cisco's acquisition of Acano would provide the networking company with video conferencing technology that can connect to similar third-party products, such as Microsoft's Skype for Business. Acano's interoperability spans on-premise and cloud systems.

Cisco announced last week their intent to buy British video conferencing technology specialist Acano for $700 million. The deal is expected to close by April.

Though Cisco has WebEx video conferencing, Acano's products can help solve the difficulties companies have in communicating with employees, partners and customers using other products. Acano provides gateways and audio-bridging systems -- available as hardware or software -- to connect to a variety of systems.

"While we see a good amount of technology overlap, Acano brings true multi-vendor interoperability and scalability," Roopam Jain, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, based in San Antonio, Texas, said. "Acano offers a solution that ties into customers' existing deployments including Skype For Business."

About 60% of businesses have UC technologies from multiple vendors, according to Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

"Acano gives Cisco a better play at those mixed vendor environments," Lazar said. "Acano's sweet spot is in companies that are using Cisco voice and video products and Microsoft Skype for Business [formerly Lync] on the desktop."

Growing demand for video conferencing

Less than 15% of conference rooms are video enabled, according to Nemertes Research. The demand for video conferencing technology is expected to grow as more employees work from home offices or other places outside corporate offices.

Acano gives Cisco a better play at those mixed vendor environments.
Irwin Lazaranalyst, Nemertes Research

Video usage is expected to increase 400% by 2019, according to Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn. The video conferencing technology market as a whole will reach $2.9 billion in 2020, predicts Global Industry Analysts Inc., based in San Jose, Calif.

Cisco has been expanding its unified communications and collaboration services, which provide voice, video, data and applications on fixed and mobile networks. In 2010, Cisco purchased the Norwegian video conferencing technology company Tandberg ASA for $3.3 billion. Acano was started by ex-Cisco and Tandberg executives in 2012.

Next Steps

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