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Cisco and Apple collaborate on iOS for enterprise networks

Cisco and Apple say they will create a ‘fast lane’ for iOS devices running on enterprise networks

Cisco and Apple are to work together to optimise Cisco’s networking hardware for users of iOS – Apple’s mobile operating system – integrating iPhones and iPads with enterprise networking environments.

The goal is to address the growing demand on corporate infrastructure by removing barriers that prevent iOS devices from working efficiently and reliably with Cisco’s hardware.

The two firms – which clashed in the courts in 2007 over the use of the name iPhone – will also debut a series of unified communications and collaboration tools to make the iPhone a more viable collaboration tool in Cisco voice and video environments, offering a “seamless experience” between users’ iPhones and desk or softphones.

Cisco will get to take a peek under the bonnet of iOS to deliver integrated features for Cisco Spark, Telepresence and WebEx.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone and iPad had become “essential tools” for the modern workforce.

“Together with Cisco, we believe we can give businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love,” said Cook.

Cisco executive chairman and former CEO John Chambers added: “95% of companies in the Fortune 500 count on Cisco collaboration and Cisco networks to help their teams be more productive.

“Through this engineering and go-to-market partnership, we’re offering our joint customers the ability to seamlessly extend that awesome Cisco environment to their favourite iOS devices. Together, we’re going to help teams achieve higher levels of productivity and effectiveness.”

Apple has previously signed similar agreements with other giants of enterprise IT as demand for its products – frequently included as elements of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy – shows no sign of abating.

In 2014, Apple inked a similar contract with IBM, under which IBM agreed to provide a device supply, activation and management service – MobileFirst Supply and Management – for enterprises using iOS devices.

Big Blue has been working on a platform for iOS, also called MobileFirst, to deliver analytics, workflow and cloud storage, fleet-scale device management, security and integration on Apple’s OS.

Read more on Unified communications

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I’m surprised but delighted it has taken Cisco this long to roll out its video conference tools to iPads and iPhones. Ease of use across different devices is so important for today’s mobile workforce and partnerships like this one are one way of reaching this goal. However, constant innovation is essential, vendors should update features based on customer feedback to ensure they can provide the best possible customer experience across different platforms.
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