Cisco Just Released A Slack Clone With Audio And Video

CiscoEthan Miller/GettyCisco CEO John Chambers

Cisco revealed a free collaboration app called Project Squaredon Monday,joining a highly competitive market filled with new enterprise messaging startups like Slack.

Project Squared is basically a business application that lets teams create rooms where they can post messages, share content, and even have video conferences. Cisco says it’s compatible with any device, including phones, tablets, and desktop PCs, and claims to have top-notch security. Cisco also partnered with the storage and collaboration app Box to make it easier to share and open content directly from within its Project Squared app.

“It’s like a conference room created just for you and your team that has everything everyone needs to do their very best work,” said Matt Cutler, Cisco’s director of product management. “It makes collaboration simpler.”

Today’s news shows Cisco is still taking the enterprise collaboration market seriously, after years of trying to make it into a big business. Cisco dropped more than $US3 billion on collaboration company WebEx in 2007, but that product looks a little outdated, especially on mobile devices when compared with the consumer apps people use every day.

In the meantime, a bunch of newer companies have been making progress in businesses by offering simpler ways to collaborate, with a strong mobile focus. Slack, the enterprise communication app, recently raised $US120 million at a $US1.1 billion valuation and its user base is exploding, while Blue Jeans Network, the cloud videoconferencing provider cofounded by a former Cisco exec, raised nearly $US100 million since its founding in 2009.

It’s unclear how exactly Project Squared will separate itself from these upstarts, but the following screenshots will give you an idea what it looks like:

This is what the main screen looks like on an iPhone. It simply shows a list of chat rooms you’re a part of.

Here’s what a typical room would look like. You can invite multiple people into a single room, and see in real-time who’s read your message or who’s typing.

You can share files directly from within the room. It also integrates with Box.

You can start an instant video conference within the app, too.

And maximise the screen if you want.

Here’s what it looks like on the desktop.

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