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Cisco Meeting Server 2.4 increases capacity, adds controls

The Cisco Meeting Server 2.4 release increases HD video call capacities and gives customers more in-meeting controls and branding tools.

Cisco has increased the capacity of its on-premises audio and video conferencing product and is giving businesses more tools for customizing and managing meeting experiences. The vendor remains committed to Cisco Meeting Server even as it pushes customers to consider hybrid or pure cloud deployments.

Cisco Meeting Server 2.4 increases the scale of its 2000 series servers for hosting high-definition meetings. Businesses can now conduct 700 simultaneous meetings in 720p and 350 concurrent sessions in 1080p, per server. That's up from 500 and 250 meetings, respectively.

The upgrade also contains several new APIs that will let businesses customize the design and branding of their meetings, without having to purchase a separate license. Businesses can now set background images -- such as a company logo -- and design their meeting invitations and audio greetings in different languages.

Many organizations use Cisco Meeting Server to facilitate interoperability between third-party video endpoints and Microsoft Skype for Business (or other web conferencing platforms). With the release of Cisco Meeting Server 2.4, Cisco added mute and recording controls for organizations that use Skype.

Cisco has also expanded the number of browsers that support the WebRTC version of the Cisco Meeting app, which previously only ran on Chrome. Businesses can now conduct WebRTC meetings using Chrome, Firefox, Safari and certain Android devices.

Cisco Meeting Server is the evolution of a product Cisco acquired when it bought the startup Acano for $700 million in 2015. In addition to facilitating interoperability, the product lets enterprises and service providers build audio and web conferencing networks. Customers can download the software for Cisco Meeting Server 2.4 now.

Cisco retains the lead in shrinking video infrastructure market

Cisco generated more revenue from video conferencing hardware sales to enterprises and service providers than any other vendor last year, capturing 34.6% of the global market, according to research by Frost & Sullivan.

Huawei and Polycom trailed Cisco in second and third place in a market that has been in decline for multiple years. Revenues from video conferencing infrastructure sales dropped from $447 million in 2016 to $411 million in 2017 and continued to fall this year, according to the firm.

Still, Cisco appears to remain committed to the industry-leading Cisco Meeting Server despite its focus on the cloud-based Cisco Webex suite for online meetings and team collaboration, said Rob Arnold, analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

"While [Cisco] does have Webex meetings from the cloud space, it still needs to provide for partners and customers that want to build out their own infrastructure," Arnold said. "It is a viable market, although a shrinking one."

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