Cisco Touts ROI with IP Telephony Roll Out

Cisco on Monday launched 12 new IP telephony products---new software and hardware upgrades that use a converged voice, video and data network to lower an enterprise's cost of network ownership and maintenance.

Cisco Systems Inc. on Monday launched 12 new IP telephony products---new software and hardware upgrades that use a converged voice, video and data network to lower an enterprises cost of network ownership and maintenance.

As a general matter, Cisco champions IP telephony as a way to reduce equipment costs as well as a way to save on annual network administration and training. The San Jose, Calif., vendor also maintains that IP-based products help increase employee productivity, increase knowledge sharing and enhance customer service. To that end, Cisco remains its own largest customer for IP phones to date.

But in the next six months Dow Chemical will become the largest customer, according to Craig Cotton, product manager for enterprise voice products at Cisco. In the past six months, the company has shipped more than 500,000 IP phones.

Among the software products released this week is the Cisco Emergency Responder, which eliminates the need for IT managers to manually update the location of telephones as they are moved within a campus. The software is used with the 911 support applications built into Ciscos CallManager product, which includes a real-time automated location-tracking database and enhanced call-routing of emergency calls to the safety dispatch center. The location of a caller can be identified as precisely as within 100 meters, depending on the switch infrastructure.

"Within minutes after you move a phone, the database gets updated," Cotton said. "Frankly, since Sept. 11, we get a lot more questions about emergency response."

Other new software includes: the Cisco Conference Connection, Cisco CallManager 3.2, Media Gateway Control Protocol support for 2600/3600 routers, Cisco Internet Service Node 1.0, and the Cisco IP Contact Center Bundle. The IPCC Bundle offers pre-configured contact routing and queuing for small to mid-sized contact centers, help desks, and informal call centers, allowing enterprises to implement new contact center services in less than a week.

"I can now take a small contact center in this bundle and I no longer have to have all agents in the same physical site," Cotton said. "I can take my agents and put them in their homes or in smaller contact centers."

Among the new infrastructure products is the IP Phone Expansion Module 7914, which enables Ciscos IP phone 7960 to provide an additional 14 line appearances and speed dial features. The 7914 is targeted for use by administrative assistants

Other new hardware released today includes the Cisco VG248 Analog Phone Gateway, Cisco Catalyst 4200 with Systems Network Architecture and Internetwork Packet Exchange, Survivable/Standby Remote Site Telephony for the 7200 router, High Density Analog Voice/Fax Network Modules, and the Advanced Integration Modules VOICE-30.