Among the many products introduced and demonstrated Monday, Cisco focused on being able to access content and communications on many platforms. Chief Demonstration Officer Jim Grubb retrieved the same voice mail on a BlackBerry, an iPhone, a Cisco desk phone, Cisco WebEx Connect desktop software, Microsoft Office Communicator and other clients. He also moved a videoconferencing session from Cisco's Telepresence high-definition videoconferencing system to WebEx and a Cisco desktop phone.
Another key trend Cisco hopes to lead is social networking within enterprises. Chambers showed off the Enterprise Collaboration Platform, which lets employees set up profile pages that keep others up to date on their activities and areas of expertise. The platform is designed to help users form groups and find the right person to turn to on a given problem.
The Enterprise Collaboration Platform takes advantage of a technology Cisco calls Pulse, which can analyze data such as e-mail, text messages, documents and video transcripts and look for words the organization considers important. Employees can rate each others' expertise in particular areas to make it easier to find an subject expert. Pulse can be used to show what important issues each employee has been working on and let users search for all types of content by topic. Enterprises can choose to turn it on for all employees or let them opt in.
Cisco believes social networking will be the main way employees find each other and form groups. However, Chambers told reporters he doesn't lead with that angle when selling the company's vision to enterprise CEOs. Instead, he offers them a way to face growing competition with costs already cut to the bone. Collaboration is the best way to quickly invent new products and enter new markets, and especially with younger workers entering the workforce, social networking increasingly is the best way to foster collaboration, he said.