Cisco Announces Products, Support Service for Businesses

Cisco debuted a selection of communications solutions and enhanced support at the company's annual partner conference.

At the company's annual partner summit, Cisco announced a slew of products and services aimed at small to medium-size businesses (SMBs). Products include managed ethernet switches, an IP video surveillance solution and a three-year technical support and coverage service package aimed at small businesses.
Cisco also announced enhancements to the Cisco Smart Business Communications System (SBCS), version 1.5. New features include WebEx PhoneConnect, which enables businesses to view meetings and join online conferences on an IP phone and Cisco TimeCardView, which allows staff to clock in and out, track hours and download information to payroll applications from an IP phone.
Cisco's ESW 500 series of switches, part of the company's Small Business Pro family, are managed ethernet switches, come with a five-year warranty including next business day hardware replacement (where available), free software fixes and 90 days of complimentary tech support. Cisco's SPA8800 IP Telephony Gateway enables small businesses to connect their IP PBX to existing analog phones and fax machines. The switches range in price from $659 to $3,299, depending on the model, while the Telephony Gateway is listed at $600.
Ian Pennell, senior vice president of Cisco's small business technology group, said the company recognizes small businesses have a tremendous impact on communities around the world and on our global economy. "With our broad product portfolios, service and support, we're delivering on our commitment to give small businesses technology that can solve business problems and help them gain a competitive advantage to succeed in these challenging times," he said."
Along with new features for SBCS 1.5 is a revamped component pricing Cisco says reduces the overall system cost by more than 25 percent, bringing the price as low as $453 per user, even in the eight-user configuration. Cisco says the lower pricing is based on Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series, and an even lower cost per user when coupled with Cisco ESW 500 series of switches.
"In order for small businesses to successfully move forward, it's necessary that they have access to the right kinds of services, support and communities of experts and peers they need when they need it," said Cisco's vice president of small business solutions marketing Andrew Sage. "We're delivering this in various ways through our web site with 'click-to-chat' and 'buy now' features and through our Web 2.0 support community so small businesses get the service and support they need when they need it and how they need it."
The ESW 500 Series, SBCS Release 1.5 and the IP Camera are currently available, while the IP Telephony Gateway will be available by the end of this month, Cisco said. The IP Camera is listed at $794. While the recession takes its toll on small business IT budgets, Cisco is giving qualified businesses a deal from Cisco Capital, which offers zero percent financing on voice solutions, including the SBCS Release 1.5.