Interesting collaboration news at the end of last week. Cisco announced it’s intent to acquire Acano.
Acano is a conferencing and collaboration MCU bridging and gateway solution that allows interop between various platforms, all joining the same collaboration meeting, most notably Lync/Skype for Business interop with Video endpoints like those from Cisco. It is deployable on prem and cloud. Founded in 2013, Acano is a privately held and headquartered in London, UK, with around 200 employees.
Interestingly Acano is the baby of CEO cofounder OJ “Odd Johnny” Winge, who was a key player at Tandberg which Cisco bought in 2009 for $3.3 billion. Upon close of acquisition the Acano team will report into Winge, who will be reporting into Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, led by SVP/GM Rowan Trollope.
So the big question for me is, have Cisco bought Acano to help support Skype for Business interop, or to slow it down/stop it. Radvision had an interesting Lync interop story, but that pretty much died with Avaya bought them. I’m hoping the same thing doesn’t happen here. Also, will Cisco try to tightly integrate this technology into it’s offerings, or run it as a kind of parallel unit like they did with Meraki Wireless. The latter approach seems to have been much more successful than the former.
Simon Leyland, a UC Expert with experience of Skype, Cisco and Acano presented some interesting thoughts and questions here.
This is probably greeted as good news for Polycom, the dominant and most “Microsoft blessed” player in Skype for Business interop and PexIP, who offer a similar interop solution, and also come from the ex Tandberg team.
I hope Cisco have bought Acano to open up their interop story, their UC&C story seems to be moving away from Jabber towards cloud based Spark, so maybe they are keen to pickup room based Video in Skype for Business customers, however I worry this might not be the case.
What are your thoughts?
Some relevant articles: