Almost every customer that I speak to is looking at the opportunity that new mobile devices – smart phones and tablets – bring to increase collaboration and drive new business capabilities. And consistently, customers are asking these five questions:
- How closely will the UC capabilities on my mobile device not just meet, but exceed the experience on my desktop?
- Will users be able to make and receive calls on their mobile devices anywhere in the world as if they were using their desk phone?
- Is video to the mobile device available at all, and if so is it really “business-ready” or is it more of a poor imitation of the TelePresence experience?
- Are Wi-Fi access points evolving to better handle the increased traffic and usage patterns that come from adding mobile devices on the network?
- If I choose a cloud provider for UC-as-a-Service, will that in any way limit my ability to deliver UC capabilities to a mobile device?
For Cisco, these questions are easy to answer because mobility and user experience are not an afterthought. Our collaboration development philosophy is people-centric – that is driven by the user experience. And in the post PC era where tablets and mobile phones are primary work devices for many during each day, that experience must not just be equivalent to the desktop – but maximize the unique opportunity that these new form factors provide. This is a fundamental change in the user experience model and Cisco is maximizing the potential of this new class of mobile devices.
With Cisco Jabber, the UC capabilities are consistent across PC, Mac, tablets and phones. Users can make and receive voice calls using VOIP wherever they want to work, and HD video to the tablet allows users to join a TelePresence session without having to be in the room and without having to sacrifice video quality. Voice and video simply work because that is how the clients were designed from the ground up, as part of our collaboration architecture, and because we invested to make the user experience rich and complete. Cisco is also investing aggressively in a new class of Wi-Fi access points with all new capabilities that Jabber can take advantage of because these mobile devices are inherently wireless. Lastly, with Jabber, we support a full range of UC deployment models across public, private, and hybrid clouds with no change in the mobile user experience because the network is the same under each of these deployment scenarios.
I was particularly struck by the differences in development philosophy between Cisco and Microsoft when I saw the Lync mobile client announcement this week. Given that Microsoft has been without a mobile client for UC since the Windows Mobile 6.5 client for OCS release a few years ago, I expected Microsoft to really embrace the 500,000+ Android devices activated daily or the more than 40 million Apple iPads and iPhones that will be sold this holiday season with a full mobile UC client for Lync.
Instead, Microsoft released a mobile Lync client which:
- Does not have VOIP calling (everything is a call back service over the mobile network)
- Does not have video capabilities to or from the device
- Does not have document sharing capabilities
- Does not have the ability to dial numbers from the Microsoft cloud-based Lync service
Simply put, what Microsoft released this week is not a mobile UC client at all. It is at best an IM and presence client with a call back service – pretty much the same functionality as what Windows Mobile 6.5 had several years ago. If there was ever a data point that showed how in denial Microsoft is regarding what mobility is all about, this has to be it. In the face of tens of millions of customers purchasing iOS and Android devices every quarter and Windows Phone OS market share crumbling rapidly, Microsoft still could not bring itself to offer a truly rich mobile UC client experience on these new devices. One has to wonder if their priorities are properly set or whether they have the skills to do it. Apparently “first, best and only on Windows” isn’t just a marketing slogan after all.
Don’t lock yourself into Microsoft’s Windows-centric approach; sample Cisco’s UC approach by clicking here to see videos of Jabber in action and to learn more about our mobile application products.