Apple and Cisco have teamed up to create an enterprise Internet "fast lane" for iOS users in workplaces that have deployed Cisco's video and networking infrastructure.
That covers a broad range of enterprises, as 95% of companies in the Fortune 500 use Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s collaboration and networking tools, according to the vendor, and nearly every company has Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) products in-house thanks either to company policy or, more commonly, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.
The partnership will see Cisco optimizing its network for iPhones and iPads and their associated apps to work more efficiently, seamlessly and reliably together. Cisco's mobile, cloud and premises-based collaboration tools -- Spark, Telepresence and WebEx -- will be optimized for iOS, so that employees could, for example, fire up a video conference call directly from an iOS calendar. (See Cisco Wants to Tidy Up Desktop Videoconferencing.)
Of particular note in the partnership, which was 10 months in the making, are the company's plans for Fast Lane technology, giving bandwidth priority to enterprise functions such as videoconferences over less important network applications (such as cat videos on YouTube). The Wall Street Journal suggests this will work on both wired and wireless connections. Bloomberg reports that the pair are also working on ways to prevent network slowdowns when Apple releases iOS updates.
Why this matters
The partnership comes as both companies, like their network operator partners-cum-competitors, are making a bigger push into the enterprise. Workforces are increasingly mobile and the lines between consumers and enterprise users are blurring. With BYOD and the enterprise shift to the New IP, IT departments have a big task at hand, integrating disparate device and operating systems in their networks, unifying the experience between the desktop and mobile and securing it all for their employees. (See Mobile Security Should Be Customer-Centric.)
Apple's partnership with Cisco should help make this more seamless. Its Fast Lane technology is especially interesting in light of the trend towards smartphones being used for both personal and work purposes, with separate bills and even separate capabilities in work hours. It could, however, raise a red flag for net neutrality advocates given that it prioritizes one form of IP content over another. Light Reading has reached out to Cisco for more details on how the technology works and what role -- if any -- the network operators might play. (See AT&T Updates Toggle for BYOD.)
Apple is holding its always anticipated annual product event next week (Sept. 9), when it's expected to unveil its next iPhone, an iOS update and potentially more news for the enterprise. (See Uncommon Core.)
— Sarah Thomas, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading