The next stage of evolution in Cisco Systems Inc’s strategy for enabling its SMB channel partners to offer managed services is video conferencing, with an announcement “very soon,” according to Edzard Overbeek, EMEA VP of commercial and distribution operations.
The San Jose, California-based networking company uses the commercial appellation to refer to SMB (which it defines as 20-250 people) and midmarket (250-1,000), and it is these two segments that Cisco targets with its managed service partners.
The hardware platforms with which Cisco targets this market are twofold. There is the lower end of the Integrated Services Router portfolio: the 1800 and 800 models, which are non-modular devices with support for WiFi and baseline security features (firewall/VPN are common to both, while the 1800 and the higher-spec, managed 870 also have IPS, NAC and optional PoE. The unmanaged 850 is only FW/VPN). The 800 series has DSL and Fast Ethernet uplinks, the 1800 has DSL at its lower end (the 801, 1802 and 1803) and Ethernet and T1/E1 at the higher end. The other platform is the Catalyst 500 Express switch, which Overbeek described as a pure SMB box.
He said the ISR is the product designed to enable managed services. It’s really the return of the old ASP model, Overbeek said. With the ISR our partners can offer managed storage services, and there is the potential for other managed apps such as accountancy software.
The next app will be video conferencing, powered by the company’s announcement of its Unified Communications portfolio earlier this year, which was a rebranding of IP Communications. The new name was designed to reflect the broader range of comms options it makes possible.