Cisco announces Project Squared free SaaS collaboration app

Project Squared, a SaaS business app for chat, audio, video, multi-party meetings and content sharing, will initially be a free download, but expects to monetize it as they add more features, and they see it as a strong channel opportunity.

ProjSquared slider

The Project Squared Interface

Project Squared, a SaaS business collaboration app for chat, audio, video, multi-party meetings and content sharing, will initially be a free download, but Cisco expects to monetize it as they add more features, and they see it as a strong channel opportunity.

Cisco has announced Project Squared, a SaaS business collaboration app that combines chat, audio, video, multi-party meetings and content sharing through a single pane of glass. While it will start as a free download, Cisco also sees it as a strong channel opportunity, because of the ability to design solutions on top of it.

Project Squared is designed to overcome and improve ad hoc employee attempts to collaborate online, something that is frowned on by IT, and which Cisco says really isn’t all that effective anyway.

“The paradigm of staying connected has changed dramatically, so workers are going around IT and bringing in their own applications, as well as their own devices,” said , Cisco’s Senior Director of Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales. However, the reality is that ‘bring your own application’ doesn’t work that well in practice.

“It doesn’t fulfill what’s needed,” McLeod said. Not all devices are supported, so not everyone can participate. Content is often scattered across different apps. Furthermore, catching up can be hard if you go a while between sessions.

Project Squared is built on the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform, and McLeod said it overcomes these issues.

“We think Project Squared will change the game,” he said. “It is an application where teams can work together. It solves ‘drain on progress’ issues, yet gives an excellent customer experience. We aren’t just throwing another app out there.”

Project Squared allows teams to create a room on any topic to securely share messages, post files, and start voice and video calls.

“Users get a room to talk in – not a portal or a website – where they can participate regardless of device or location,” McLeod said. It is accessible from most devices, as it presently supports and iPad devices and devices, Mac desktops, and any web browser. This allows users to log in from any computer without needing a VPN or plugins. Project Squared also integrates with common business tools such as calendars, Active Directory, WebEx and Box, and IT teams can manage it by asking employees to use corporate single sign-on credentials and IT-approved passwords.

“It is all managed through one pane of glass, a powerful solution with consumer ease and simplicity,” McLeod said. “It also has very unique security capabilities, which has been an issue for bringing consumer-based applications to the enterprise. Everything is encrypted as it goes in, and as it comes out.”

While Project Squared offers enterprise-grade security, McLeod said Cisco expects it will have appeal up and down the entire length of the market

“It’s enterprise security, but we see it as going from small businesses to large enterprises, to virtually every user,” he said.

Some of this appeal will also come from the price – free. Project Squared is initially going to market as a free download, and is available at http://projectsquared.com.

“We will have a no charge offer at introduction,” McLeod said. “As we layer even more value, we believe we will see very strong motivators for companies to take on additional capabilities, which will not be free.”

While most models are of little interest to the channel, which tends to prefer clear and direct paths to monetization, McLeod believes there are strong opportunities with this one.

“As a channel guy, I’m incredibly excited by this,” he said. “Partners are the key to this, both in terms of designing solutions and taking them to market. It will also open up whole new conversations for partners with customers, creating new ways to tap line-of-business budgets, by letting the partner get a footprint in the door with one line-of-business or use case and then expanding it.”

Project Squared is available now.

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  1 comment for “Cisco announces Project Squared free SaaS collaboration app

  1. November 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

    There are a number of collaboration apps that are just glorified cloud storage apps with a few added features like tracked changes. Hopefully a tech leader like Cisco will not make the same mistakes…

    cloudwedge.com

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