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Take 2: Is Your WLAN Ready for Unified Communications and Collaboration?

November 3, 2014 at 11:48 am PST

In the previous blog, we covered details about Cisco AVC enhancements with AireOS 7.6 that allow you to classify various collaboration applications such as Cisco Jabber™, Cisco WebEx®, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Lync, and Microsoft Skype. Many customers have deployed voice-over-WLAN in mission-critical environments. The goal in this blog is to walk you through the collaboration specific enhancements implemented since then, that enable customers to get a great experience when supporting Microsoft Lync over Cisco WLAN.

Timeline

The above picture shows the timeline for various AVC, policy and Lync enhancements. The crucial updates since AireOS 7.6 are:

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“Your call is important but we’re not in right now – leave a message…”

This is the fifth in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. The third  blog discussed how the two companies deliver voice and video. The fourth blog examined true cost to deploy. Today’s blog addresses enterprise class support.

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These days, workers at enterprise organizations depend on real-time collaboration solutions to get their jobs done.  The solutions need to work 24/7, and if something goes wrong, it’s imperative things get fixed fast. In a world where customers view 100% uptime as the only acceptable Service Level Agreement (SLA), solid customer support means everything. While we could all live without email for a day or two, few businesses could function without working telephones for that long, or would trust ‘crossed-fingers’ while the CEO meets with an important customer over a video link.

At Cisco, we feel that support for business critical solutions should not become a guessing game of “who you gonna call”.  In fact, we think the right way to handle support is to offer the option of ‘”one-stop” responsibility for the entire system — from the software to the endpoints, switches, gateways, security and compute hardware, and other technologies as required.

After all, given the vast array of offerings today from a multitude of vendors, the chances are slim that the wide range of components used in collaboration will all have the same management interfaces, diagnostic, and testing routines to determine where an issue lies when a problem arises. We also know that even if you are able to track down the root cause of the problem, some third parties may have very limited specialist support staff and escalating issues can be incredibly challenging. We prefer that our customers spend their time driving their business, versus spending countless hours trying to resolve problems where finger pointing is the name of the game.

As my colleague Rowan Trollope blogged recently, we feel Microsoft’s approach is very different. First off, a Microsoft Lync enterprise deployment requires Read More »

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No Free Lunch

This is the fourth in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. The third  blog discussed how the two companies deliver voice and video. This fourth blog focuses on the true cost to deploy.

No Free Lunch

A little after lunch time today at Enterprise Connect, Nemertes Research will host a session to present its findings on a topic near and dear to Cisco’s heart: “Building the Business Case for UC”. Drawing on data supplied by hundreds of IT decision makers on Unified Communications products and technologies, attendees apparently will “leave the session with a clear picture of the elements of a successful UC business case”.

Having this session right after lunch seems appropriate, since the session could easily be named: There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

As you may know, just a few weeks ago Cisco’s Rowan Trollope started a conversation about what matters in collaboration. The topic is so important to Cisco that we launched a web page to communicate our view on the key considerations in evaluating an enterprise collaboration solution, with a special focus on the differences between Cisco and Microsoft. So it is exciting to see the industry hone in on one of these considerations: cost and licensing.

Cisco believes that building an accurate business case for UC is increasingly complex. Capital costs and licensing are just the tip of the iceberg. What you spend on getting and keeping the solution running — the internal staff, training, third-party vendors and annual maintenance — matters quite a bit. Without a full understanding of all the factors involved in the real cost of ownership, selecting the right vendor and architecture for your organization may be an incredibly daunting task.

In a blog about the research behind today’s session, Nemertes’ Robin Gareiss calls Lync an “expensive operational proposition.” We think it’s important to note that Lync licenses are often Read More »

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Suitable For Everyone or Restricted to Some…

This is the third in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog from Cisco SVP and GM, Rowan Trollope, discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. Today’s blog discusses how the two companies deliver voice and video.

Suitable For Everyone or Restricted to Some…

We’re seeing more and more advisory labels on products these days that inform us whether they are suitable for everyone to use, or should be restricted to certain groups.  I’m wondering whether Microsoft should apply such a label to Lync? Let me explain, starting with Cisco’s point of view.   Read More »

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Cisco at Enterprise Connect: Advancing the Post-PC Era

Today’s enterprise employees don’t access e-mail from just their desktop computers. Whether they are working in their office or pulled into a mission critical meeting, working remotely, or on the go and accessing work via their mobile devices – they need to be able to collaborate on their own terms. As a market leader in collaboration Cisco is continuing to address this need; today, we are announcing new solutions at Enterprise Connect that advance the idea of people-centric collaboration – connecting people instead of devices. Cisco’s news is all about providing customers with a wide range of integrated and interoperable collaboration options so users can connect and collaborate with their peers from any device, at any time.

First, Cisco is introducing the new Jabber for iPad and Jabber for Windows. These new clients build on previous Jabber announcements that include Jabber for Android, iOS, Mac, BlackBerry and Cisco Cius tablets. Today’s announcement provides customers using a wide range of major devices with collaboration capabilities, including:

  • high quality video
  • voice, presence
  • IM
  • conferencing
  • visual voicemail

With Jabber, users are able to have a cohesive user experience across any platform and collaborate the way that they prefer. For example, Cisco Jabber for iPad provides high definition video calling, including seamless integration with Cisco’s TelePresence solutions within the enterprise. Check out the video clip below, part of a demo from our upcoming Collaboration Announcements Webcast; Laurent Philonenko, Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Clients and Mobility Business demonstrates a video call using Cisco Jabber for iPad:

Cisco is also introducing a new immersive telepresence system, the Cisco TelePresence TX9000 Series. The TX9000 expands Cisco’s broad portfolio of telepresence offerings, which includes fully immersive systems, multipurpose room-based solutions, desktop and personal video solutions, and cloud-based managed offerings such as Cisco Callway, introduced in October 2011, ideal for small and medium-sized businesses looking to scale their workforce.

The TX9000 is built using a new industrial design that offers offers customers the highest level of video immersion, while reducing the bandwidth needed by 20 percent. Read More »

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