At Cisco’s 2014 Collaboration Summit, Collaboration Technology Group’s (CTG), General Manager Rowan Trollope was asked what it would look like for him and the group a year from then. On a humorous note, he said that success would be that CTG would see 10% growth and that he would still have a job.
In continuance with the CTG drive, on the 20th of Nov2015, Cisco announced the plan of buying “Acano,” a video conferencing firm for the price of $700 million. Acano was founded in 2012 and is based in the UK. It is also into the development of video infrastructure and collaboration software. Acano deals in platform-enabled audio and video meetings screen sharing, and chat, which helps connect and collaborate.
The company’s collection of Products includes a Skype for Business integration product and other tools for connecting over audio, video, and through the web. The basic idea behind this is that even when customer settings are such that they are using Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, Acano will bring in a set of tools and technologies so that Cisco is able to provide the video integration and infrastructure.
At 451 Research, an information technology and research company, an analyst by the name of Alan Pelz-Sharpe said that Acano was offering a much more sophisticated collaboration tool. Sharpe told TechCrunch, a leading technology media property, “I think in fairness, the Acano stuff is a step up over what Cisco may already have—this is serious enterprise hardware and software to beef up and expand video conferencing in firms.”
On the Cisco company blog, the VP of corporate business development said that it was their goal to increase the number of video-enabled conference rooms from one in ten to one in four within the next ten years. People should be able to connect in a heterogeneous environment with any system or device they have, be it a small mobile or a big screen in a board room. Acano brings in video and audio bridging technology which allows connections between different collaborations across cloud and hybrid environments.
It is a great time for Acano to be brought into the Cisco stable. Acano had always been concentrating on selling to large enterprises. Its strategy, which was always “land and expand,” involved Acano being initially used for scaling multi-vendor video. Then, Acano would make sales in its broader coSpaces solution. Cisco can speed the “expand” part of Acano’s strategy.
The acquirement of Acano also welcomes back Acano’s CEO, OJ Winge, to Cisco. OJ has wide experience in the video industry from his days at Tandberg and Cisco. He left Cisco in 2012 for Acano and is now coming back to familiar grounds.
Hopefully, Cisco will take the best of Acano’s coSpaces and Cisco’s Spark, both being great WCC solutions, and bring them together. It is well known that Cisco overcame premises-based deployments years ago, but WebEx, HCS, Spark, Tropo, and now Acano give Cisco the most expansive cloud-first portfolio in the Unified Communications Industry. Another advantage is that since Acano is in Europe, Cisco can use its domestic currency to boost shareholder value.
As is evident, Cisco has a lot of experience in buying companies. However, this always depends on the smoothness of the integration process of the purchased company’s technology into Cisco’s collaboration and video dynasty.