On November 9 of last year, Cisco Systems introduced an unheard-of 61 new technologies, all focused on collaboration. Tony Bates, the SVP behind them, says collaboration is a $34 billion market, and “by far the most exciting thing we’re working on. The world is bigger than an office and a bunch of cubes.” Among the new offerings: a social video system called Cisco Show and Share (YouTube for your office); Collaboration in Motion (WebEx for your iPhone); and, coming next year, the Cisco Enterprise Collaboration Platform (Facebook/Twitter meets WebEx for your business), which will help far-flung employees share a chat window, videos, wikis, docs, even a company-wide news feed. No longer content to be a plumber, Cisco is focusing on the network as the basis for innovation, which is bringing the company into closer competition with the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Tune in next year to see how that’s going.
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