In a bid to increase its focus on real-time communications, Cisco plans to acquire application programming interface (API) vendor Tropo.
Tropo specializes in real-time voice, video and messaging APIs that help telcos monetize their network assets through third-party app development. It works with both enterprises and telcos, including Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Globe in the Philippines, and has partnerships with companies such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)-owned Apcera. (See Apcera, Tropo Bring APIs to PaaS and PaaS It On: Ericsson Buys Into Cloud Startup Apcera.)
What attracted Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to the privately held company is the important role Tropo plays in enabling the API economy. According to Heavy Reading analyst Caroline Chappell, the API economy is all about mashing up pieces of software-based function from different sources, through programmatic interfaces, to create new services to attract new customers.
Tropo enables this type of on-the-fly, customized service creation via its APIs, and Cisco sees the opportunity in marrying that to its cloud, as well as using these APIs to bring real-time communications to the Internet of Things (IoT). It's also likely interested in tapping Tropo's 200,000-strong developer community. (See Cisco CEO: Get Ready for New Digital World and Apigee Aims to Provide IoT's Missing Link.)
"Helping people connect, engage and innovate on any device, Cisco and Tropo will provide a collaboration platform-as-a-service, which allows our customers and developers to create and sell new communications services with minimal development effort," Hilton Romanski, head of corporate business development at Cisco, wrote in a blog post on the deal.
Tropo will join Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group under SVP and GM Rowan Trollope, where its cloud API platform will be combined with Cisco's cloud collaboration offers. Terms of the deal were not announced, but Cisco expects it to close in the fourth quarter of this year. (See Validating Cisco's Service Provider Virtualization & Cloud Portfolio.)
— Sarah Thomas, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading