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50 million Cisco IP phones, and Jabber Instant Messaging (IM) for everyone

In this post PC era, Cisco is taking another important step in advancing the collaborative workspace and making collaboration even more pervasive for customers around the world – regardless of device, application or operating system. Today we’re announcing that we are making presence and instant messaging (IM) capabilities and Cisco Jabber clients available to our Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) customers globally at no additional cost. Cisco believes that together presence, IM, voice and video call control provide the foundation for real-time communications.

For customers, with this development, Cisco is now providing a way to simply and cost effectively make presence and IM available to all users across a plethora of devices — including Windows, Mac, iPad, Cisco Cius, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android (later in 2012) — while also ensuring they’re deploying a unified communications client  that is BYOD-ready.  And let me emphasize, this isn’t just for those customers who happen to have a Cisco IP phone.  It’s for every employee in an organization.

For partners, this helps simplify and accelerate the deployment of presence, IM and mobile collaboration as part of a holistic, best-in-class, collaboration solution. Hence, presence and IM can easily become ubiquitous in the enterprise!

We feel presence and IM are the starting points of collaboration, not the final destination.

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Do Tablets Signal Extinction for Desk Phones?

I read an interesting post on No Jitter yesterday that poses the question, “The End of the Desk Phone?” The author suggests that the era of the desk phone is coming to a close. The gist is that tablets are essentially going to take over the known universe and send desk phones the way of the Studebaker.

Like a lot of people, the author is particularly fond of Apple iPads and positions them as the ideal phone eliminator. Once upon a time a lot of people said the same thing about microwave ovens vs. regular stoves. Didn’t happen. Sure, I can make popcorn with a lot less fuss and muss, but convenient though it may be, it’s not the tool for baking a chicken – or better yet, chocolate chip cookies. Read More »

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Keeping Your Future in Mind As You Invest in Enterprise Collaboration Solutions

Both mid-sized and large enterprises know the value of employee collaboration to increase productivity and give the business a “leg up” on its competitors. As more businesses make sizeable investments into collaboration technology, it’s important for them to select products and services that not only meet their unique needs but also encompasses a comprehensive solution from the ground up that caters specifically to increasingly mobile employees.

Today, Sprint announced the availability of Sprint Complete Collaboration, a bundled service that gives customers a full UC solution that can be quickly and easily deployed over an all IP network. This Sprint solution is based on Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution which gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

What does this mean for the end users who are increasingly on the go? It means being able to access collaboration applications from any device (smart phone, laptop, tablet – you name it) anywhere at any time. It’s instant collaboration designed for today’s distributed enterprise; a feat that is best achieved when an organization opts to deploy a collaboration solution that – at its foundation – is keeping the bigger picture in mind: that these days, employee collaboration is no longer bound by “office walls.”

Sprint’s news validates the demand for a collaboration solution that allows service providers to leverage their own infrastructure to differentiate and drive fixed mobile convergence. We announced this new feature last December with new mobile features to HCS. As one of our first customers to announce availability of this feature, we are thrilled to see that the market is seeing the value of extending this feature to their subscribers. Read More »

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Collaboration: On the Field & In the Office

Collaboration is great. But it’s not a Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, if-you-build-it-they-will-come Field of Dreams scenario. Alas, if all it took was plowing under a corn field and putting down some chalk stripes, I might be out of a job. And out of corn flakes.

We talk a lot about technology and process, but sometimes omit the human aspect. All the technology in the world won’t do much without people using it — unless you’re watching the Terminator machines attempt their takeover. And then there’s always HAL 9000. But those guys are a lot more interested in domination than collaboration anyway.

An organization’s culture is a critical component to successful collaboration. Make all the technology announcements and managerial pronouncements you want – you need an environment that supports collaboration. Read More »

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2012 Predictions: These I Like

It took me awhile to go through all the random Top 10 of 2011 lists for various topics, so now I’m ready to look ahead to 2012’s preponderance of pundit predictions. Or maybe I’m just fashionably late. I’ve tripped over a few reports here and there – some quite possibly developed by caffeinated squirrels on a treadmill.

Not me, but she looks like she's predicting something...

On the technology front, I found one more interesting than others. Instead of putting a small group of experts in a room and not letting them out until they agree on a list, Baseline Magazine annually surveys business and technology managers at companies with 100+ employees to ask about their organizations’ investments, plans, and strategies. Across several hundred respondents, patterns evolve.

Whoever these people are, coming from the desk I use, I like the way they (and their companies) think. Following – their predictions and my two cents (maybe three or four).

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