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Cisco Revamps Videoconferencing with Google Partnership

Cisco is revamping their videoconferencing lineup with their new Google partnership, new products, and lower prices, the company announced at the Enterprise Connect conference.

Cisco WebEx and Cisco Unified Communications are now available via Google Chromebook browsers per Informationweek.

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Cisco and Google partner up to help simplify telepresence.
Image courtesy of Facebook.

The new arrangement is part of Cisco’s ongoing strategy to help simplify collaboration among users, making corporate videoconferencing as simple to use as a commercial or personal app. Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of the Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco, announced this in a keynote presentation at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Fla. Tuesday. They have also dramatically dropped prices on an average of 45% across its product line.

“Users want to have great technology and a consistent experience across platforms,” Trollope said. “The industry has not lacked low-cost solutions. You can get lots of low-cost solutions on the market today, but you have to make tradeoffs. It’s a shameful fact that only 7% of meeting rooms in the world have video equipment in them, have collaboration equipment in them. That means 93% of them are only able to connect to other people with voice.”

Rajen Sheth, director of product management for Chrome for Business and Education at Google, said that, because more than 5 million companies use Google apps and Chromebooks accounted for approximately 21% of the commercial US laptop market in 2013, Google and Cisco expect their partnership to encourage more business users to use videoconferencing as a means to communicate. The two executives conducted a proof-of-concept demonstration of Chrome running WebEx during Trollope’s keynote address at the event.

Trollope also said that WebEx has been completely redesigned to be native in Chromebook. Users can access WebEx meetings directly from their calendar or may begin a session via contacts or the Google People Widget.

Cisco has forged this partnership in hopes that telepresence will be simplified and will be more user friendly, Trollope said.

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