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Cisco to Acquire API Specialist Tropo

Sarah Thomas
5/7/2015
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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.


Want to know more about the API economy? This will be just one of the many topics covered at Light Reading's second Big Telecom Event on June 9-10 in Chicago. Get yourself registered today or get left behind!


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, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

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sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/7/2015 | 11:30:05 AM
PaaS on Apcera?
I wonder how this will affect Tropo's partnership with Apcera. Cisco essentially provides the PaaS to mash up with Tropo's APIs, so it might not need Apcera anymore. And, it might see it as more competiive now that it was acquired by Ericsson as well.
Tsahi Levent-Levi
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Tsahi Levent-Levi,
User Rank: Lightning
5/8/2015 | 9:44:49 AM
Can Cisco take Tropo where it needs to be?
This is an interesting acquisition. That Tropo should have been acquired is clear. That Cisco would do it - is somewhat surprising.

With Twilio and TokBox becoming the larger players in this domain, especially when it comes to WebRTC, it will be interesting to see how Cisco/Tropo will fair.

Here are my thoughts on the challenges Cisco has, especially considering the need to handle WebRTC: https://bloggeek.me/cisco-acquire-tropo/
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