The experience of World Wide Technology, a Cisco Live exhibitor, reinforces what we've seen among the No Jitter and Enterprise Connect communities. As part of its Advanced Technology Center, WWT has been offering sandbox lab environments that large public and private enterprise organizations can use to test, compare, and validate their collaboration products before unleashing them in production environments, Joe Berger, collaboration practice director at WWT, told me in a briefing. The company has dozens of labs, some segmented by product (a particular CallManager version, say), others aimed at integration (comparing three call management platforms and how they react within an environment, for example), and still others for product comparisons. Indeed, one of the most popular labs is for comparing Microsoft and Cisco UC clients, he said: "Fire up your virtual desktops and run Cisco Webex teams next to Skype for Business and understand what the experience is with both."
The company has seen such interest in its sandbox offerings for collaboration that it extended its offerings into the WWT Collaboration Labs, a multivendor environment for testing and validating enterprise collaboration tools and services. Rather than being limited by the availability of one lab, enterprise organizations can now get access to any labs they need on an on-demand, self-service basis, or by subscription. The goal, Berger said, is to allow quick access to a handful of labs at the same time. In addition, WWT offers a concierge service should clients want help navigating their ways through labs or to provide troubleshooting advice, Berger said.
WWT just officially introduced the Collaboration Labs last week ahead of Cisco Live, but has been allowing access for the past six weeks or so. In that time, 210 enterprises have used the lab, said Berger, noting that the target enterprise customer falls in the Fortune 250.