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More Collaboration, Video Options in Cisco Unified Communications Systems 8.0

November 10, 2009

Cisco has served notice in the highly competitive unified communications (UC) marketplace that it plans to stay as a leader in with the new Cisco Unified Communications System Release 8.0 platform.

Announced at the Cisco Collaboration Summit, the significantly upgraded product features innovations and enhancements that it says is designed to reduce costs and increase operating efficiencies between and within enterprises. It allows organizations to collaborate in new ways, removing barriers to communications with partners, suppliers and customers through integrated voice, video, presence, instant messaging (IM) and Web sessions.

Here are the solution’s highlights:

The Cisco Intercompany Media Engine

The Cisco Intercompany Media Engine enables business-to-business communications over any IP network with minimal administration overhead by automatically learning new IP routes, based on normal calling patterns. Once recognized as members of an Intercompany Media Engine network, voice and video calls are automatically connected.

This new solution, just submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force for standardization, links users at different companies, or between autonomous groups within an organization that do not have direct connectivity. The Intercompany Media Engine initially enables features such as business-to-business video and high-definition voice with multiple levels of security built in.

Cisco Unified Presence 8.0

Powered by Jabber, Cisco Unified Presence 8.0 now delivers native, dual-protocol support for the SIP/SIMPLE and XMPP presence and messaging standards on the same appliance. This capability provides users with flexibility and a choice of endpoint standards, as well as a messaging platform for developing new business applications. Also available is interdomain federation across companies and deployment models.

Cisco Unified IP Phones

The new Cisco Unified IP Phone 9900 and 8900 Series are introduced with support for interactive business video, Wi-Fi, USB and Bluetooth on selected models. Benefits include a lower total cost of ownership and green design that takes advantage of recyclable plastics and deep-sleep options.

Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator

The latest version of this solution brings the enterprise UC environment to iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones, providing dial-via-office, corporate directory and call-log access, and presence capabilities to improve user productivity and reduce costs.

Cisco Unified Client Services Framework

This flexible client architecture allows Cisco Unified Communications services -- such as softphone, voicemail and high-definition desktop video -- to work with a wide variety of clients, including Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, Cisco WebEx Connect and Microsoft Office Communicator.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition

This product provides SIP aggregation services for legacy PBXs, devices, and applications, as well as connectivity to fixed and mobile carriers via SIP trunks. The Session Management Edition allows organizations to more rapidly deploy new UC and collaboration applications and to cost-effectively phase in an updated communications infrastructure.

Cisco Unified Communications Large Enterprise System

A new offering for distributed customer environments of more than 30,000 users it combines Cisco Unified Communications Manager with integrated provisioning and administration tools. It is interoperable with legacy PBXs for easy migration of legacy systems, applications and business processes, thus accelerating deployment and reducing operational costs.

Cisco Unified Personal Communicator 8.0
This multimedia desktop client application provides instant access to Cisco UC services such as integrated softphone, presence, enterprise IM, visual voicemail, directory access, communications history, desk phone control and video and Web conferencing. It has an intuitive user interface, wideband audio and high-definition video.

Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal (CVP)

CVP enables contact centers can offer customers speech and video-enabled self-service in a stand-alone IVR system. The new version also includes a courtesy callback feature.

To sweeten the deal Cisco is encouraging enterprises to trade in their old systems for a Cisco Unified Communications solution. Firms that act now could be eligible for significant cost savings when upgrading, including trade-in credits, special pricing Cisco Services and support, plus financing as low as zero percent.

“Cisco believes that collaboration will drive the next era of business productivity, and effective collaboration will not be possible without communications,” says Barry O'Sullivan, senior vice president, Voice Technology Group, Cisco. “With the introduction of Cisco Unified Communications 8.0, we are fundamentally shifting the way organizations can communicate. We're enabling organizations to use collaboration as a key differentiator as they communicate with partners, suppliers and customers using a range of tools from fixed and mobile phones to enterprise instant messaging, to the Web and video across organizational boundaries.”

Brendan B. Read is unified communications’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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