Cisco builds apps ecosystem for its Cius tablet

TORONTO – During the launch of Cisco Systems‘ (NASDAQ: CSCO) first ever app store for the Cius tablet the networking vendor said the business device consolidates technology instead of adding to an already complex environment for the enterprise.

The Cius tablet, which was introduced a year ago at the Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas, now has AppHQ, an online app store specifically created for Cius platform with 250 business applications.

Cara Wilson, vice-president of collaboration for Cisco, said the thought behind the consolidation strategy is based on the rise of collaboration in the workplace. More people are using office productivity tools in a social and visual way. The thought of people working on a PC has been shattered. All the layers in the stack have been changing to a new adaptive workspace. E-mail has become social and the old standard provisioning model is now an app store, she said.

Cisco made it clear that the Android-based Cius tablet is a business device and will not be offered as a consumer product. Cius combines voice, video, collaboration and virtualization capabilities docked on an IP phone base that is also portable with an eight-hour battery. It also comes equipped with a second battery for customers who work in a 16-hour environment.

The Cisco AppHQ is a cloud-based app storefront built for IT managers. Cius will come with this and the Android Market app store built in. The apps in AppHQ have been tested and validated for the enterprise. Another facet of the AppHQ is Cisco’s store within a store that will be hosted by Cisco or an authorized service provider or channel partner in a highly secure private cloud that can feature app specific for the customer.

According to Tom Puorro, senior director of product management for Cisco Systems, a company such as Coca-Cola could have its own company-wide app store and its internal IT managers would be able to pick and choose applications on demand from this service. It can also be based on specific users, job class and location. These apps could also be customized for the customer.

Under the AppHQ Manager, IT managers will have the ability to allow or deny access to these apps. Some of the applications on AppHQ include, Citrix, Cisco Quad and WebEx.

“Cius has many things more than your consumer tablet. It has VDI, telephony, and instant messaging. Cius is not about editing a Word document on the screen or watching a movie. It has flexibility with the way I work. This is not a consumer device, but we want to make sure the customer has some choice so it’s not restrictive on apps and you can get apps from Amazon, but with IT manager authentication,” Puorro said.

He added that Cius is not a point product but a window into the enterprise with a large display (7-inches) for conferencing, three-way transfers, call hold and a telepresence that’s not restricted to a room.

Palomar Pomerado Heath is one of the first healthcare providers to use the Cius platform in its community of Escondido, Calif. Its CIO, Orlando Portale, said the Cius gave doctors a better collaboration tool with access to real-time data in any area of the facility. He added that doctors and nurse can now make more timely decisions on patient care. The app Palomar uses is called MIAA (Medication Information Anytime Anywhere). MIAA pulls patient records form disparate facilities on demand and enables physicians to consult through e-mail and video conference at the same time.

Palomar ran between 15 and 20 pilot projects with the Cius platform most in areas, such as the nurse station and in patient rooms. “Cius enables our staff to get a call at night and be able to consult with nurses and physicians and get real time access to apps, healthcare records and real time video directly with patients,” Portale said.

He believes that this product can scale up to significant numbers. Palomar runs it behind a firewall and it also enabled them to provide updates to its end users faster. It the past this was a harder task because of Palomar’s many facilities spread out on 22-mile campus.

He hopes that future versions of Cius product will be impregnated with silver inside the plastic to reduce the amount of infection. Similar to other IT equipment inside Palomar, Cius tablets have been sanitized and wiped-down with alcohol.Follow Paolo Del Nibletto on Twitter: @PaoloCDN.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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