Cisco unveils new cloud-based solution

Cisco Systems, Inc., a provider of Internet protocol, or IP, -based networking and other products related to the information technology, or IT, industry, has unveiled Cisco WebEx Social for Higher Education, an integrated, cloud-based solution.

This solution is developed in concert with higher education institutions, including Duke University, North Carolina State University, Case Western Reserve and University of Chicago, goes beyond email, learning management systems and portals to connect people, capture the vast knowledge and expertise within the education ecosystem, and make those resources available to students and teachers, the company said.

The WebEx Social for Higher Education offer helps colleges and universities transform processes for increased productivity, while reducing IT infrastructure cost and complexity. Users can identify subject matter experts, gather group feedback, co-author documents, / immediately with ready access to mentors, relevant communities based on their course of study, class syllabus, reading lists, and links to informational videos.

Cisco worked closely with Duke University, North Carolina State University, Case Western Reserve and University of Chicago on the development of the WebEx Social for Higher Education offer, to ensure its applicability and effectiveness in the education sector. All four institutions are currently piloting the solution, with Duke readying to extend it throughout its community students, staff, faculty and administration in the coming weeks.

The WebEx Social for Higher Education offer includes integrated WebEx Social, WebEx Meetings and WebEx Messenger for presence and instant messaging delivered through the Cisco WebEx Cloud. The Cisco WebEx Cloud is a cloud platform with unmatched performance, integration flexibility and enterprise-grade security, the company added.

WebEx Meetings and WebEx Messenger Integration let users move from social networking to real-time communications through click-to-start instant messaging and web conferencing directly from WebEx Social. WebEx Social also makes it easy for users to personalize their experience.

Renee Patton, senior director of education, US Public Sector for Cisco, said: "Technology is changing our lives at an incredibly rapid pace, yet significant work remains in providing colleges and universities with the collaboration tools needed to drive greater levels of knowledge sharing and innovation.

"We developed WebEx Social for Higher Education in close cooperation with leading education institutions, as a people-centric cloud collaboration platform that unifies the education workspace and provides a connected learning experience. We're excited about the impact this solution can have on improving the quality and effectiveness of education worldwide."