Cisco’s Cius: An iPad for the enterprise?

That there is the all new Cisco Cius, an ultra-portable ‘mobile collaboration business tablet‘ that ‘offers access to essential business applications and technologies.’  At least, that’s what Cisco reckon.  And I’m inclined to agree.

Various people around the industry are describing it alternately as an iPad-killer, an iPad-rival and so on.   I think it’s certainly an interesting device concept.  You see the phone up there on the left?  That’s your standard all-new Cisco IP device, right?  But when you leave the office or leave your desk, you simply pick up the Cius screen there which becomes a stand-alone tablet.

It’s not running some proprietary nonsense, either.  It’s Android-based so you can access and use the wealth of current and future Android resources on the Android Market. 

The most important thing point about the Cius, however, is that it’s got a Cisco label on it.  Which means it’s most, most welcome in enterprise.  Nobody ever got shot for buying Cisco.  There will be a considerable number of CIOs who will relax and smile during the product evaluation discussions between iPad, various other Android tablets and the Cius.  Not only have you got the backing of the global connectivity giant that is Cisco, you’ve also got the ability to access products and services from the Android market.  Or, to put it another way, you can get your in-house development team to start developing custom applications and services for your Cius estate using industry standard and easily accessible technology. 

Aaand… let’s have a look at the other specs:

Applications Capabilities:

  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data and Bluetooth 3.0 help employees stay connected on and off-campus
  • HD video (720p) with Cisco TelePresence solution interoperability for lifelike video communication with the simplicity of a phone call
  • Virtual desktop client enables highly secure access to cloud-based business applications
  • Android operating system, with access Android marketplace applications
  • Collaboration applications including Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx, Presence, and IM

Tablet Highlights:

  • 7” diagonal, high-resolution color screen with contact-based touch targets delivers an elegant, intuitive experience
  • HD Soundstation supports Bluetooth and USB peripherals, 10/100/1000 wired connectivity and a handset option
  • Detachable and serviceable 8-hour battery for a full day of work
  • Highly secure remote connections with Cisco AnyConnect Security VPN Client
  • HD audio with wideband support (tablet, HD Soundstation)

You can hear a little more about the specs and the thinking behind the Cius from this video featuring Cisco’s Kara Wilson, VP of UC & Collaboration Solutions Marketing.

Of course since this is Cisco we’re talking about there are whitepapers galore.  There are case studies.  There are use-case-analysis concepts.  Try this page for starters.

I think it’s a fascinating move by Cisco and I can hear the CIOs lining up to deploy thousands of these across their respective organisations.  I think it’s what a lot of companies have been waiting for.  Oh, you can go out and buy 5,000 Dell Streaks or 5,000 iPads for your executives, but how do you manage them?   How do you handle security?  How do you deal with unified collaboration?  What do you do about VPNing?  How do you make sure that video calling actually works?  And most importantly, how do you control the devices, your device estate and the related user policies?

The Cisco sales teams are going to be having a very, very busy time this year.

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