Cisco acquisition boosts its multimedia offering

Cisco Systems will bolster its multimedia networking portfolio with audioconferencing, videoconferencing and web-based...

Cisco Systems will bolster its multimedia networking portfolio with audioconferencing, videoconferencing and web-based collaboration tools through the acquisition of Latitude Communications.

Cisco agreed to pay approximately $80m cash for all the outstanding shares of publicly held Latitude, an enterprise conferencing company with headquarters near Cisco, said Don Proctor, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Voice Technology Group.

Latitude's MeetingPlace product, which consists of conferencing software running on Latitude appliances and on client systems, will become part of Cisco's IP Communications product portfolio, Proctor said.

That collection of hardware and software products is designed for the convergence of data, video and VoIP communications across a single IP network.

Latitude's software already can be closely integrated with Cisco's IP phones and CallManager software for IP call control, Proctor said. It also has been integrated with enterprise applications such as Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes and Sametime.

An enterprise employee could schedule an audioconference through Outlook and MeetingPlace would reserve the network resources to make that audioconference happen at the scheduled time. The user also could schedule, manage and attend meetings using the display on a Cisco IP phone.

MeetingPlace also works as a standalone system with its own user interface. 

The deal is expected to close in Cisco's financial second quarter, which ends in January. Latitude, which has 183 employees, will become part of Cisco's Voice Technology Group and move its operations to Cisco offices. The number of Latitude employees moving over to Cisco has not yet been determined.

Stephen Lawson writes for IDG News Service

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