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Cisco Acquires WebRTC Smarts

Cisco has purchased cloud startup Assemblage to bring real-time communications to any device, including those in the Internet of Things.

Sarah Thomas

June 30, 2014

2 Min Read
Cisco Acquires WebRTC Smarts

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

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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