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Collaboration

As a technology guy, I’m always fascinated to see what new gadgets and technologies get announced at CES.  Some are pretty cool; some I think will only make it to the headlines.  In the end, which gadget will enjoy large-scale adoption and best empower the user?  The one that best meets the user needs with a superior user experience.

Similarly, Cisco’s announcement today  is all about providing a superior user experience to virtual desktop users and truly empowering them to reach new levels of productivity.  With the new software-enabled Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and integrated UC accessories Cisco is continuing to evolve the virtual desktop into a virtual workspace and pursuing a long-term software strategy for Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI).

According to Gartner, 77 million users will be on Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVD) by 2016. It isn’t a passing trend. To gain many important benefits — such as cost savings, security and easier management — IT organizations are deploying HVD today in growing numbers.

For users, where or how their desktop is hosted should be transparent, it all comes back to that superior user experience.  That includes being able to transparently use their collaboration tools like voice and video from their virtual desktop environment.  With the new software, called Cisco Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME), that extends Cisco Jabber to virtual environments, users now have the freedom and the ease to collaborate on their virtual desktops with using IM, presence, voice, high definition video, and more.  Cisco VXME will be available not only on Cisco’s thin clients, but 3rd party thin clients and Windows PCs.

Additionally, different use cases require different user experiences.  I once spoke to an innovative IT executive at a hospital who led the deployment of Cisco VXI about how Cisco Jabber will support virtual environments.  He very clearly noted that solutions fully dependent on the desktop for control will not work in some key user environments like a nursing station.  Not because he didn’t like the technology, but because nurses need a desk phone for every days tasks like quickly answering calls and handing the handset to a doctor next to the nurse — all the features they’ve come to depend on using a desk phone.  We heard many other use cases from our customers for a desk phone including retail stores to manufacturing floors.

Customer feedback like this prompted us to work with Logitech and Jabra to look at the features of Cisco’s phone — which customers like so much — to see how we could integrate these features into desktop accessories.  The end result is a new unified workspace with customizable accessories to fit the user’s need.  It includes Jabra’s DEC cordless handset for those users in a shared work environment like the nursing station mentioned above.  Also from Jabra, a speakerphone with built in call control buttons for those office and conference room settings.  And the UC keyboard from Logitech that has the built-in unified communications features for voice and video call controls so you always know who’s calling and can answer quickly even when your desktop has 20 applications open (like mine).  These are just some of the examples of how the accessories from Logitech and Jabra for Cisco Jabber can help customers be more productive in a virtual environment.

Furthermore, these accessories will eventually also work with any PC with Cisco Jabber for Windows.  As I mentioned before, it’s not about one environment or one device. We are working with Jabra and Logitech to deliver a solution that works in any environment.  And it’s not only about the technology, but importantly the user experience that addresses their workspace needs to be highly productive and effective.

To learn more about Cisco’s desktop virtualization strategy and see a demonstration of  Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and the new UC accessories, I invite you to join me for the Cisco Collaboration Announcement Webcast with live Q&A on Jan 17 from 9-9:30 a.m. Pacific Time (replay available after 11 a.m. Pacific Time).

Fabrice

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