New features in Cisco’s Unified Communications Release 9.0 will address a range of demands from users, IT managers and high-level executives, company officials said.
Cisco Systems is greatly expanding the tools
and services in its unified communications (UC) solution to address the demand
from users for easier and more flexible collaboration options, and from businesses
for simpler management and better cost efficiency.
The networking and collaboration vendor is
rolling out UC Release 9.0, which offers features that Cisco executives said
end users, IT managers and C-level executives are asking for as they look to
expand the collaboration capabilities of their employees, partners and
Whether its voice, video, messaging, Web
conferencing, mobility, or securityits all about more flexibility, bridging
systems together, and protecting our customers investments, Thomas Wyatt,
vice president and general manager of Ciscos Collaboration Infrastructure
Business Unit, said in a June
26 blog post
Many of the new features are the result of
feedback from the various parties within businesses that have different
collaboration needs, according to Wyatt. Users are looking for collaboration
solutions that let them choose whatever device they wantfrom tablets and
smartphones to office phones, notebooks and telepresence systemsand to have
the same collaboration experience on all these devices.
Meanwhile, IT administratorstasked with
managing all these deviceswant simplicity and consistency in the collaboration
platforms and applications, but without sacrificing reliability or security.
For their part, C-level executives are looking for a good return on their
investmentensuring that more sales are made and customer service is improved
by the collaboration technologyand to reduce their cost of ownership, Wyatt said
in a blog post
The new offerings in UC Release
9.0particularly in the Unified Communications Manager platformare designed to
address many of these disparate demands, according to Cisco officials. With UC
Release 9.0which is due for release in the third quarterbusinesses can now
support third-party endpoints through a feature called Extend and Connect. The
feature works with Ciscos UC platform Jabber to enable any third-party phone
to hook into Ciscos UC environment. Remote userssuch as telecommuters or
business travelerscan input the phone number of their device into a Jabber
client running on a Windows PC, and Unified Communications Manager will route
all voice traffic to that number.
Through this feature, users get all the
services available on full-featured enterprise phonesfrom presence to instant
messaging to click-to-callon their third-party phone, Cisco officials said.
A new systems interface that links Unified Communications
Manager with a mobile phone users service provider means that any mobile phone
can have such enterprise features as unified inbox, message waiting,
conferencing and callback.
In addition, Cisco is improving the quality
and security around video, including better bandwidth management through
built-in Call Admission Control, which creates a logical view of the network,
and support for additional video endpoints, including Ciscos TelePresence
TX9000. Ciscos Uniform Resource Identifier enables users to contact any
endpoint in the system by dialing a contacts email address rather than a phone
To help businesses manage contact center
solutions, Cisco is rolling out Packaged Contact Center Enterprise, a
pre-engineered packaged deployment model of Ciscos enterprise contact center
software. Other new features in Ciscos Unified Contact Center Express include
historical reporting via the companys Unified Intelligence solution, as well
as Web chat.
Cisco over the past few months has aggressively
expanded and integrated its collaboration solutions. In March, the company grew
portfolio and the capabilities in Jabber
, and in June officials said they
were bringing their disparate collaboration offerings under
the WebEx umbrella
Cisco wanted to give enterprises a wide range
of collaboration solutions in a central place, Michael Smith, director of
Ciscos Cloud Collaboration Applications Technology Group, told eWEEK