(via special arrangement with The451.com)
By Jo Maitland
ET Feb 22, 2001, 02:20 PM - New York - Cisco has rekindled its relationship with Internet printing company Mimeo in an effort to push its own VPN and firewall technologies. Cisco added Mimeo to its shopping list of ASP partners in November last year, but has said little about the alliance until the Internet World Wireless show in New York this week.
The two companies plan to start a joint marketing campaign soon, while Cisco is also considering taking a stake in the company. Cisco counts CommerceOne, Breakaway Solutions, Click2Send, ebaseOne, Oracle, Surebridge and Zantaz as ASP partners.
Mimeo offers business document printing, binding and delivery via the Internet, a service that has been touted for several years by a handful of companies without much take-up. Mimeo has been in business for about a year.
Ron Willis, VP of Cisco's mobile Internet business, believes the time is now right for this market. "Security has been a major issue for big corporations who are reluctant to open up their networks to the Internet to let anybody get in." He says new VPN products with protocols such as IPSEC have made the technology robust enough for service providers and corporations to safely enable mobile workers access to their corporate networks.
Once installed, Mimeo's software allows users to print documents, business proposals and research reports at a production shop that Mimeo owns in Memphis, Tennessee. Printed copies are then produced and shipped to whatever destination the client specifies.
Although Mimeo obviously charges for this service, the software is free to users and acts like a print driver, allowing the user's PC to talk directly with Mimeo's printing facility. Coupled with Cisco's VPN, firewall, encryption software and wireless LAN technology, the proposition becomes a much more enticing hosted application package, the companies say.
Mimeo offers next-day delivery anywhere in the US and Canada and is working on signing up partners in Europe. Once the document is printed, it is bound and whisked to Federal Express, which keeps its US hub in Memphis, clearly why Mimeo chose this location for its headquarters.
There are a slew of companies offering Internet printing, including iPrint.com and NowDoc.com, as well as traditional outlets such as Kinko's. Mimeo says these Web-based offerings are often unreliable, as without client-side software there is no way of ensuring the document is secure, formatted and then printed the way the sender intended. "If you don't own the fonts on the receiving end, you can't guarantee the final look and quality of the document," said CEO Jeff Stewart.
Over the next six months, Cisco and Mimeo hope to sign up several major airports, hotels and business centers to the service.
The above was supplied via special arrangement with The451. The451.com offers critical news analysis, comment and opinion on the technology, communications and media industries with an emphasis on their convergence. It arms business users with intelligence to make timely and informed decisions.
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