An entirely new app built from the ground up, Cisco’s Squared is a much-needed attempt at simplifying collaboration.
Cisco’s annual Collaboration Summit kicked off on Monday in LA. I believe this is the second collaboration event under GM Rowan Trollope, who has reshaped Cisco’s business unit. During last year’s event, Trollope was pretty matter-of-fact in acknowledging that collaboration at Cisco needed a face-lift. The various products didn’t work well together and, in his words, Cisco technology was too complicated to deploy and hard to use. While he wasn’t ready to discuss his long-term vision for the industry, he did say that his initial focus was on improving interoperability and making the products easier to use.
Since his arrival in late 2012, Cisco has upgraded many of its hardware platforms, improved product interoperability, and rebuilt the interface for WebEx. Despite all of the work and upgrades, Cisco hasn’t really come out with anything new under Trollope’s tenure. Don’t get me wrong – the new WebEx CMR is great, as are the new hardware endpoints, but I’ve considered those improvements on products that already existed.
At this week’s Collaboration Summit, Cisco took the covers off something it is calling “Project Squared,” its next-generation collaboration tool. Squared isn’t an upgrade of an older product or something Cisco patched together; it’s an entirely new application Cisco built from the ground up. Cisco has described the product as “an app where teams work together, where their work lives and how they stay connected to it all.”