Cisco Debuts Two Unified Communications Platforms

The company offers two UC platforms aimed at the midmarket; it is also expanding WebEx Meeting Center support.

Cisco Systems launched two unified communications platforms aimed at small and midsize businesses. The company also announced a global sales productivity initiative called Cisco Partner Advisor, with agents available to give partners immediate and personalized sales support to accelerate sales; Cisco also is extending its WebEx Meeting Center to its midmarket partners.

The UC 300 Series is a complete collaboration system aimed at companies with two to 24 users. The platform is designed to help small businesses take advantage of IP telephony to reduce phone costs and boost employee productivity. It includes built-in data and wireless support, along with features such as voicemail and automated attendant. In addition, three-year, zero percent financing is available from Cisco Capital in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. for the UC300 Series through the end of July 2011.

The UC Manager Business Edition 3000 is an economical platform designed for growing midsize businesses, and supports a capacity of 300 users across 10 sites. The system offers an intuitive user interface and features like voice mail, conferencing, the ability to park or hold calls, auto attendant, and standard mobility features like single-number reach, extension mobility, and tele-worker support to connect business calls and voice mail messages to employees anywhere they work.

The Unified SIP Phone 3905 is an IP-based phone that integrates with the Unified CM Business Edition 3000 and includes fixed keys for redial, transfer, hold and resume, speakerphone, volume toggle and a PC switch port to reduce cabling installation requirements.

Reza Khorramian, vice president of sales for Business Communications Solution, a Cisco UC partner, said that after a brief introduction and training on the UC Manager Business Edition 3000, the company installed it with a live network connection to the public telephone network.

"Setup was very straightforward and simple, especially compared with other PBX systems we have installed. There were no issues getting the system installed and adding and changing users and features," Khorramian said. "Installation did not require in-depth network training, and we were able to get the system successfully making calls in less than an hour."

Cisco Partner Advisor is a sales coverage and support initiative for Cisco SMB partners that provides personalized sales support via click-to-chat or phone. Initially delivered through two global centers in Raleigh, N.C., and Lisbon, Portugal, Partner Advisor will continue to roll out in Europe, the Asia Pacific and Canada as well as emerging markets, and support will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Korean.

The company is introducing a partner-led model for WebEx Meeting Center for partners that sell to small businesses. Cisco WebEx Meeting Center lets users share applications, presentations, documents, or a PC desktop in real time and work with teams around the world. The company said that WebEx Meeting Center enables partners to offer more complete collaboration solutions, and helps they use Web conferencing to accelerate productivity and drive business growth.