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Cisco Cius - It's Not about You, Unless You're IT

July 6, 2011 | William Zimmerman
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Last week I attended an onsite demo of Cius at Cisco's Canadian headquarters in Toronto, and posted about it on my blog as a preamble to this analysis, which is more specifically focused on UC. There are many angles to consider, and at this point, I'll assume you're familiar with the basic news items around last week's launch. The only thing I'll add is some really old news. Just to be sure you know, this launch is over a year in the making, and you can read my first impressions, which were posted here on the UCS portal following last year's Cisco C-Scape event.

So, what to make of Cius? If a lot of things go right, this could truly be a game changer and validate Cisco's vision about video being the driver for collaboration. I think this largely depends on how well the value proposition resonates with the intended audience, and that's where Cisco is really trying to carve out a new path. When most people think of tablets, they think consumer devices, but Cisco needs you to think differently. For Cius, the audience is IT; this tablet is about them first - then the end user.

Consumer-oriented tablets are cool, fun, addictive and relatively affordable. However, they are personal use devices, with limited business utility and are used with virtually no consideration for enterprise networking requirements. They are the ultimate digital sandboxes, but run counter to what UC needs to be effective. I'm not saying that Cius was developed specifically for UC, but it's pretty easy to see how it can be a great enabler.

Cisco's messaging at the launch was about how video drives collaboration, and in my view this is highly analogous to UC. Yes, there are subtle differences, but if Cius succeeds, that's good news for UC. With consumer tablets, the end user defines the experience, so there is really no success metric beyond how many units are sold. No doubt, Cisco would like to sell a lot of Cius units, but their ultimate success will be defined by other things, and that's where I think the story gets interesting for UC.

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