Light Reading

Cisco Acquires WebRTC Smarts

Sarah Thomas

Cisco has added to its toolbox of video conferencing and collaboration tools with the acquisition of Assemblage, a San Francisco-based startup focused on cloud communications.

The acquisition, announced on Friday afternoon without financial terms, will also give Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) a stronger WebRTC story. Assemblage uses the peer-to-peer technology to enable browser-based, real-time communications without any downloads, plugins, or installations required. (See What WebRTC Means for Telcos.)

Cisco said in a blog post Friday that the purchase would help Cisco "capture the ongoing market transitions of mobility, cloud, and the Internet of Everything (IoE)."

Assemblage also enables screen sharing, presentation broadcasting, and whiteboarding for online collaboration, and it also works across 40 different file types. Its engineers will join Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, and work to build services that can integrate with popular third-party cloud services such as Box and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).

Why this matters
This latest acquisition by Cisco gives the networking giant another collaboration tool in its box. Cisco has been pushing its high-end video conferencing hardware for years, alongside WebEx, Jive, and other services, but it's also looking for ways to make it more accessible and open as enterprise interest wanes. Assemblage's relationship with third-party cloud providers will help, as will its affordable, simple approach to collaboration.

More important, however, is the WebRTC capability Assemblage gives Cisco. The open-source, JavaScript-based standard has the potential to let anyone launch a video call and collaborate over the web, and it's already beginning to spawn innovative telephony services. With Assemblage, Cisco will have a collaboration story from the high-end to the low-end of any device, Internet of Things included, with a browser. (See WebRTC in the Wild.)

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
7/4/2014 | 9:17:36 AM
Re: WebRTC v. video conferencing
Hi SReedy,

Please also consider the impact of players like Pexip that have a quikly proven and evolving platform for WebRTC and via a very scalable, interoperable, fleaxable and easy to use platform.  Pexip is creating a new category of what was once hard to use video conferencing, into a truly collaborative video experience for the masses.  I would love to provid you with some insight.
User Rank: Light Beer
6/30/2014 | 11:55:31 PM
Re: WebRTC: Web meets telecom or web eats telecom?
Smart move. I wouldn't be surprised if a burgeoning video-conferencing solution will be added to its portfolio to offer more solutions to the enterprise clients.
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 11:11:29 PM
Re: WebRTC: Web meets telecom or web eats telecom?
Cisco is trying to stay relevant--that's the message I'm seeing here.  It is such a transformation from the time that they just could not keep up with demand. I never forget the time I had to fly up to Cisco HQ to deliver backup storage gear becuase they were all doing 7-Day Work weeks.     John Chambers laid out the gauntlet and it seems as if they are making the moves--is it enough, though?  Time will tell :-)

User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 3:09:39 PM
Re: WebRTC: Web meets telecom or web eats telecom?
It's also Cisco trying to enhance webex improving the webex video experience. Cisco wants to offer an E2E software solution-with no hardware requirements and a minimun configuration-for its UC offering and assemblage and its webrtc are a step in that direction. I wonder what Cisco will acquire next as it's its 2nd acquisition in 10 days.
Phil Morrison
Phil Morrison,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2014 | 1:52:10 PM
Re: WebRTC v. video conferencing
WebRTC is without question an area of interest with many of our customers.  Have a look at our keynote presentation at WEBRTC Atlanta 2013.


User Rank: Blogger
6/30/2014 | 1:04:52 PM
WebRTC: Web meets telecom or web eats telecom?
We highlighted the threat that WebRTC poses to Cisco and other VC vendors in our recent Heavy Reading Insider:

"WebRTC: Get Ready for the Next Telecom Revolution"

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