Cisco Expands Its AVVID Portfolio
Cisco's marketing and product management engine is partial to acronyms. The company that made "LAN" a household word also evangelizes its IOS (Internetworking Operating System), VPNs. And if you need to learn what all these acronyms mean you can go to TAC, the Technical Assistance Center. Cisco's AVVID architecture has been the framework the company uses to discuss "next generation" services for at least three or four years but to date its architects have focused primarily on the enterprise voice over IP opportunity. Until the Latitude MeetingPlace acquisition, the exceptions to this rule were IP/VC and IP/TV. Cisco's IP/VC is a line of videoconferencing infrastructure products Cisco offers to host multipoint videoconferences and to bridge calls between IP and ISDN networks. The IP/VC product family includes solutions that address needs of medium to large enterprises, and scales from small to large network environments. The IP/TV solution delivers streaming media including multicast video, PowerPoint, and HTML.
Latitude is a very mature company, founded in 1993, with well established customer bases for both its services and for the servers it sells to enterprises for integrated audio and Web conferencing. After leading the trend to customer premise-based audio bridges, it was an early entrant in the webconferencing space but for a variety of reasons did not grow as quickly as WebEx and Placeware (now Microsoft LiveMeeting). Latitude's intellectual properties are in both the audioconferencing and dataconferencing spaces. On the audioconferencing bridge, the platform supports both VoIP and PSTN calls and shows the user participants who is talking on their PC screens. One of the company’s early achievements was a tight integration with mainstream calendaring and contact management systems. From any Exchange managed Outlook application, a user can reserve MeetingPlace resources (audio and dataconferencing server ports) and the server automatically sends out meeting notices and instructions to attendees. In addition, over the past few years, Latitude integrated its technology with that of RADVISION for multipoint videoconferencing and to Cisco’s IP phones.