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Cisco's top 10 rivals

Jim Duffy | Oct. 13, 2010
Cisco battling Juniper, IBM, HP and more across the enterprise network market

Cisco's keen on video, noting – by its own research -- that it will exceed 91% of global consumer IP traffic by 2014.This will drive sales of switches and routers on the back end of service provider networks to handle all that hefty traffic. On the front end? Cisco rolled out TelePresence virtual conferencing systems for the business and home, and acquired both Pure Digital, the maker of Flip pocket video cameras, and Polycom rival Tandberg to fill out the low-end and mid-range enterprise videoconferencing portfolio. Tandberg was the market leader on videoconeferencing, so now Cisco is with a roughly 40% share of a $2 billion market, according to Wainhouse Research.

Polycom isn't taking this lying down: it aligned itself with Cisco rivals IBM and Juniper to drive sales of its own videoconferencing systems along with IBM servers and storage systems, and Juniper routers.

Productwise, Cisco and Polycom match up fairly evenly, with conference room- and office-sized, and personal Telepresence and videoconferencing systems, and associated equipment and applications. Cisco recently debuted a home TelePresence system called Umi to work with consumer HDTVs but its price is being criticized. Can you see me now?

Cisco vs. Avaya

Unified communications and collaboration are hot target markets for Cisco, perhaps the most strategic after its core routing and switching businesses. But while Cisco plays in scores of markets with another 30 or so adjacent ones in its sights, Avaya's sole raison d’etre is UC and collaboration. Indeed, Avaya and Cisco are Nos. 1 and 2 in enterprise telephony, according to Dell'Oro Group, with 17% and 14.6% shares, respectively, of the $12 billion market in 2009. The companies were early entrants and decade-long competitors in IP PBXs and handsets.

The most recent battlefield for the two is tablet computers tailored specifically for enterprise collaboration and unified communications. Avaya introduced Flare last month, a mobile/dockable 11.6-inch touchscreen tablet that supports hi-def video, and Avaya's unified communications software for pulling together ad hoc meetings, including hi-def conferences. Cisco's Cius is a 7-inch dockable or mobile touchscreen that also supports Cisco's unified communications software and telepresence platforms. Both Cius and Flare run the Android operating system which enables both to support a wealth of existing or easily developed applications. Flare demonstrates that Avaya will not take kindly to any share gains in its one and only market from a determined and aggressive behemoth that plays in tens of others.

 

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