Meraki, which started out delivering cloud-based WiFi management, is becoming a linchpin of Cisco's future cloud strategy. The company is taking a step Tuesday to extend Meraki's reach, introducing a new cloud-based telephony product and services.
Founded in 2006 as an independent company providing cloud-managed WiFi, Meraki was acquired by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in late 2012. Since then, Cisco has broadened Meraki to mobility management. The long-term vision is to transform Meraki into a platform for cloud-managed IT, transitioning Cisco's revenue from product sales to recurring subscriptions. Meraki has gone from 15,000 customers at the time of acquisition to more than 120,000 today, Pablo Estradi, Meraki director of marketing, tells Light Reading. (See Cisco Looks to Beat White Boxes Where They're Strongest and Cisco Builds Its House on the Cloud.)
Jasper Technologies, a cloud-based IoT management company, is another driver of Cisco's strategic shift. Cisco acquired Jasper for $1.4 billion in February. (See Cisco Looks to Jasper Acquisition to Transform Enterprises – & Itself.)
On Tuesday, Cisco introduced a new Meraki cloud-based phone system. Of course, Cisco already has a telephony line, but the new line is designed specifically to be managed in the cloud by Meraki, for ease of deployment, monitoring and management, with integration into Cisco's Spark collaborative software and services.
Available immediately, the hardware device lists at $599 for a desk phone with a full high-resolution touchscreen display with handset. Meraki also provides a cloud license for management and control, as well as SIPP services from IntelePeer Inc. in the US, with international partners rolling out worldwide.
Cisco is also introducing new WiFi access points with support for the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard for greater device density, and, to connect those APs to the physical network, all-fiber aggregation switches.
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading