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Cisco upgrades Quad enterprise social product, renames it WebEx Social
June 20, 2012 | William Zimmerman
New Features Include Integration with Microsoft Office and with Outlook and Other Email Clients
By Juan Carlos Perez, via ComputerWorld.com
IDG News Service - Cisco Systems is extending the functionality of its Quad enterprise social networking (ESN) software through integration with Microsoft Office applications and with email clients, including Microsoft Outlook, the company is announcing on Tuesday (see the press release here).
Cisco is also re-branding the ESN software, dropping its Quad name and calling it WebEx Social, as the company seeks to give its social collaboration products a uniform brand using the WebEx name.
"Creating a consistent [collaboration] brand and experience under WebEx is a necessary thing for them to do," said industry analyst Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research.
Cisco is also placing under the WebEx umbrella its Callway cloud-hosted telepresence service, the original WebEx online meeting and Web conferencing service, and the cloud-based Connect IM and presence service. Callway will now be known as WebEx Telepresence, while WebEx will be called WebEx Meetings, and Connect is being renamed WebEx Messenger.
"There's no doubt that Cisco had too many [collaboration] platforms. That's how they grew the business, through acquisitions," Kerravala said.
WebEx Social, like other ESN applications from companies like IBM, Jive Software, Tibbr and Yammer, lets organizations offer their employees Facebook-like and Twitter-like functionality but adapted for a workplace setting so that they can, in theory, communicate and collaborate more effectively.
ESN software is designed to complement traditional workplace communication and collaboration tools, like email, IM and Web conferencing with employee profiles, activity streams, microblogging, discussion forums, wikis, brainstorming software, recommendations, ratings, joint document editing and annotation, tagging and links.
Interest in ESN software has been growing in recent years, and Forrester Research recently forecasted that spending on these products will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 61 percent through 2016, a year in which this market will reach US$6.4 billion, compared with $600 million in 2010.
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