Cisco 'really excited' at Apple partnership, confirms CEO

Apple is the mobile business

Apple, iOS, Cisco, enterprise, iPhone
Credit: Cisco

Apple and Cisco recently confirmed they will be working even more closely together. I caught up with two key Cisco executives to learn a little more about the two company’s plans.

Corporate communications

At root, Cisco and Apple are opening up new opportunities that transform iOS into the key platform for collaboration and unified communications.

They are doing this through software, platform and inherent network cooperation. That means Cisco Spark natively integrates with Apple, but Cisco is also able to prioritize iOS video calls and bandwidth-intense collaborative experiences over other tasks on the network itself with FastLane. Cisco Spark and WebEx support on Apple’s platforms also help ensure Apple is a peer player in the enterprise space.

Discussing these improvements, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins told me via email: We are really excited about the deeper partnership between Cisco and Apple. The whole idea behind the work we’re doing together is to simplify the user experience.”

Some of these announcements were made at Cisco Live, when Cook shared the stage with Robbins. The company claims response from customers and partners has been positive so far.

Apple is the iEnterprise

Until iPhone, Apple held a very limited position in enterprise computing. This has changed. Multiple surveys confirm growing use of the Mac maker’s technologies in business, with the products showing high in future purchasing plans.

“Why is Apple now right for the enterprise?” I asked. “What does Cisco see as the future of collaboration on mobile and also on Apple apps?”

Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of the IoT and Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco, said: “Businesses everywhere are becoming digital, software-driven and mobile-centric. People are already bringing their own devices into the office, and they want access to the information they need at their fingertips—anytime, anywhere.”

He pointed to the change in working practices around mobility, saying: “Already more than 27 percent of work-related calls are made using a mobile device, and this is projected to continue to grow. We all want the apps that we rely on for work to simply work.”

Like so many firms focused on the mobile enterprise, Cisco wants to ensure users end up with all the capabilities of a complex enterprise desk phone system inside of a mobile device.

Simplicity is sexy

What do businesses need? One of the trends within digital transformation is a move toward simplicity and compliance. In the case of enterprise communications, the idea is that user’s shouldn’t need to switch apps to keep in contact, which is why iOS 11 users will be able to join Spark and WebEx meetings directly from within Calendar notifications.

Developers now also have access to a new Cisco Spark SDK for iOS. They can use this to embed audio and video capabilities directly into apps for iPhone and iPad “with just three lines of code,” the company said.

Security concerns

One key concern of any modern enterprise is security. That conversation has moved on from those more traditional concerns of malware and hacking to embrace more complex discussions around data integrity, phishing and espionage around intellectual property.

Within this, Cisco said it is “collaborating with insurance industry heavyweights to lead the way in developing the architecture that enables cyber insurance providers to offer more robust policies to our customers.”

That’s why news that Cisco and Apple intend to support each other from a security standpoint was also so important. They now claim that together they provide “the most secure combination of anybody in the enterprise.”

“The thinking we share here is that if your enterprise and company is using Cisco and Apple, the combination should make the insurance cost significantly less for you than it would if you were using some other personal network side and the other operating system in the mobile area,” Apple CEO Tim Cook has explained.

That’s a big deal—not only does it mean enterprise communications will be secure, but it also means that as Internet of Things devices finally move into the mainstream, those essential digital communications will also be kept safe. This level of security is mandatory. Without it, businesses will not achieve the benefit of billions of connections.

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