Cisco has announced new products and applications they say allow organisations to use their network as a platform for more effective and more personalised business collaboration.
Release 6.0 of Cisco Unified Communications introduces capabilities that will according to the vendor dramatically improve the productivity of mobile employees and cost-effectively deliver Unified Communications to small and medium-sized businesses. It also extends new collaboration features and third-party application integration across the portfolio. The system integrates wired, wireless and mobile devices to create a secure solution for the entire organisation, regardless of a worker’s location.
Cisco Unified Communications system 6.0 is part of an integrated solution that includes network infrastructure, security, mobility, network management and lifecycle services. Cisco Unified Communications offers flexible deployment and outsourced management options, end-user and partner financing packages and third-party communications applications. Highlights of the new features include:
The Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator provides employees with access to their enterprise unified communications capability from mobile phones and smart phones using an intuitive graphical interface. Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator allows access to presence-enabled enterprise directories, sending secure text messages, viewing business email voicemail messages from Cisco Unity and selecting individual messages for playback. It also accesses enterprise call logs for more effective communications from a mobile device. Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator works on diverse handsets, on key mobile operating systems and on multiple mobile networks, allowing for corporate or personal preference factors such as form factor, cost and coverage.
Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phone 7921G enhances voice over wireless LAN communications to the enterprise and supports the wireless 802.11 a/b/g standards. This new telephone complements the Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phone 7920. One of the first IP Phones to support the 802.11 “a” standard, it offers dedicated keys for mute, volume and applications such as “push to talk”, and a docking/charging station with integrated speakerphone. This phone incorporates Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX) version 4 which provides the Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities to ensure a high quality experience.
Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition combines key Unified Communications applications for mid-sized businesses (100-500 person) on a single platform with common provisioning and management. Telephony capabilities are provided by Cisco Unified Communications Manager 6.0, formerly Cisco Unified CallManager. The solution is simple to install and manage and offers flexible deployment options for growth. It provides a complete package of voice and video communications features; single business number capabilities with Cisco Unified Mobility, Cisco Unity Connection 2.0 integrated messaging and presence services. It also acts as a foundation for more advanced Unified Communications capabilities, such as Cisco Unified MeetingPlace and Cisco Unified IP Contact Center.
In order to meet the full range of requirements for small to medium contact centers, Cisco is introducing important new multi-channel and workforce optimization capabilities for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express. To improve customer satisfaction for inquiries initiated via email or the Web, Cisco Unified Web Interaction Manager and Cisco Unified E-Mail Interaction Manager offer a common agent interface designed to improve productivity and provide easy access to a shared knowledgebase and customer history. Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization combines workforce management and quality management tools to help supervisors optimize team performance for increased customer loyalty.
Flash-based Web conferencing capabilities with Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 6.0 provide an enhanced user experience with increased applications support and a single solution and user environment for simple and effective voice, video and Web conferencing. Because it is based on open standards and built on the network, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 6.0 helps enable cost savings, security and application integration.
Cisco Unity 5.0 introduces new productivity-enhancing features that allow users to listen to and answer messages as they are being recorded, hands-free operation with speech recognition and the ability to view, sort and play messages on the display of a Cisco Unified IP Phone. In addition, with Cisco Unity 5.0 all messages can be encrypted on the system for increased security. The ability to configure the message expiration setting as part of secure messaging helps organizations reduce the risk of confidential messages being sent outside the enterprise.
“The business case for unified communications centers is on improving employee productivity and collaboration options while driving down some of the cost of maintaining multiple communication applications and infrastructures,”
said Abner Germanow, Director of Enterprise Networking research at IDC. “As the integration between unified communications components improves, the need for IT to request additional funds to pay for incremental integration and servers will decline.”