Kara Swisher

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Aliph Collaboration Deal With Cisco for Jawbones in the Workplace Launches

In April, Cisco unveiled a wide-ranging collaboration with Aliph–a San Francisco start-up that is famous for the noise-canceling Jawbone Bluetooth mobile headset–to put its software and device in Cisco’s IP phones in the enterprise.

It launches today.

The Cisco (CSCO) deployment is a big win for Aliph, since the networking giant is a dominant player in the arena to provide telephony solutions to businesses, part of its Voice and Unified Communications division.

The idea is to use the Jawbone device and the software that manages it to allow workers to move around an office and have the call move with them, echoing increasingly mobile consumer behavior. That will even include jumping from office phones to mobile devices.

To do this, Cisco will be using Aliph’s technology, which the start-up is calling a “wearable platform.”

The company was formally launched in 2004–in fact, at the D: All Things Digital conference–by Alexander Asseily and Hosain Rahman, who met as Stanford University undergraduates.

It is funded by Silicon Valley venture powerhouses Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital, as well as smaller investors, who put in a total of $43 million.

With the stylish and innovative Jawbone, Aliph has turned a lot of heads in the wireless headset space, aimed directly at high-end consumers.

It is prominently featured, for example, in Apple (AAPL) retail stores.

Now, it is finally in the workplace.

Here is the image of the box for the new Cisco/Aliph partnership:

And here is the official press release:

Jawbone and Cisco Introduce Wireless Headset for Enterprise Collaboration and Beyond

Jawbone Integrates With Cisco Video Endpoints Extending Unified Communications Inside and Out of the Workplace

SAN FRANCISCO and SAN JOSE, Calif. Sept. 30, 2010–Jawbone and Cisco today announced they are closely collaborating to allow employees to easily move from device to device throughout their day. Jawbone ICON for Cisco Bluetooth Headset will intelligently bridge mobile phones and Internet Protocol (IP) phones in a way that is transparent to users and extends unified communications beyond the walls of the workplace.

Users will be able to connect to their Cisco® Unified IP phones and mobile phones simultaneously, creating a truly unified, wireless, and hands-free communications experience as they move from in-the-office to on-the-go. While on the same headset, employees can take a call from their desk phone and the next from their cell phone as calls can be handled from both sources at the same time on the same headset. The headset extends Jawbone’s industry-first wearable software platform, with Cisco technology to deliver applications that span enterprise and mobile use. Jawbone’s industry-leading industrial design and superior ergonomics ensures users can wear their unified communications wherever they go.

Shipments of the Jawbone ICON for Cisco Bluetooth Headsets have begun in the U.S. and Canada, bundled with Cisco Unified IP Phones 9951 and 9971. International shipments will begin in October 2010.

Key Facts / Highlights:

• Users no longer need to remain tethered to their desks; their audio and voice follow them wherever they go, leaving their hands free for other tasks.
• Employees can remain connected to both phones at the same time and don’t have to pick up the handset on their ringing phone, then pick up their cell phone when it rings because both calls from both sources can be handled at the same time on the same headset.
• Users will be able to make and receive calls from their Bluetooth-enabled mobile, Cisco Unified IP Phone, Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phone or Cisco Cius and can switch among the endpoints as they change location.
• Jawbone ICON for Cisco delivers built-in intelligence that allows the headset to be dynamically enhanced through new software applications and functional updates via the Jawbone MyTALK platform.
• As rich new features and functionality are available, the headset can be easily updated either by the IT manager or user themselves.

“We live in an increasingly connected world where the lines between work and play are blurring fast, if not completely gone. People want integrated solutions that are valuable to them all the time regardless of where they are or what they are doing–these need to be lifestyle solutions with the best functionality in a form that is appealing,” said Hosain Rahman, CEO of Jawbone. “No one is willing to make tradeoffs anymore and we are extremely fortunate to be collaborating with a company like Cisco that is committed to leading this vision of new user experiences around the best of both worlds: enhanced productivity through innovative enterprise-grade technology with an equal emphasis on user-centric design.”

“Cisco understands the changing nature of work,” said Steve Slattery, vice president and general manager IP Communications business unit, Cisco. “The Jawbone ICON for Cisco Bluetooth Headset is the type of next-generation device that will allow workers to collaborate regardless of where their work lives. This first wearable and updateable platform is the only one that enables enterprises to get more value out of the device over its lifetime through functional updates as Cisco enhances its UC offering.”

About Jawbone

Jawbone, also known as Aliph, is committed to creating wearable and personal technology products that deliver an unsurpassed user experience. The company’s flagship product, the award-winning Jawbone Bluetooth headset, first disrupted the industry in 2006 with its military-grade NoiseAssassin technology and instantly became recognized as the best Bluetooth headset available. In 2010, Jawbone ICON became the company’s most innovative Jawbone yet; introducing unmatched ease of use, personalization, sound quality and design to the market. Jawbone ICON is currently available in 23 countries across North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

The winner of numerous consumer awards, Jawbone features a uniquely stylish design and is part of the permanent collection at various museums including New York MOMA.

Jawbone is a privately-held company headquartered in San Francisco.

About Cisco Collaboration

From award-winning IP communications to mobility, customer care, Web conferencing, messaging, enterprise social software, and interoperable telepresence experiences, Cisco brings together integrated network-based collaboration solutions based on open standards. These solutions, as well as services from Cisco and our partners, are designed to help promote business growth, innovation, and productivity. They also designed to help accelerate team performance, protect investments, and simplify the process of finding the right people and information.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, this year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus