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Collaboration Evolution: Why Your School Should Migrate to Next-Generation Communications Systems

In today’s digital world, communication platforms matter. In a recent Cisco Government blog post we looked at how antiquated communication systems hold back government agencies. The same holds true for educational institutions.

Legacy TDM and Centrex systems are costly to manage and limit collaboration, precluding schools and universities from truly embracing the advantages that next generation communications has to offer. As the advantages of voice over IP (VoIP) systems become well-known and widespread, more colleges and schools are making the transition and network administrators, students, teachers and parents are reaping the benefits. Read More »

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Collaboration Evolution: Why it’s Time to Upgrade to VoIP

Communication is key, yet too many government agencies voice platforms are living in archaic times.

As government agencies are turning to collaboration technologies like voice, video and mobility to increase efficiency and lower costs, many are faced with outdated voice platforms like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) .  However, the shift to VoIP enables organizations to modernize their communications platform for more robust communication applications, while significantly reducing operating costs.

VoIP provides significant net savings by allowing the management of managing one unified network and no longer needing to sustain a legacy phone system. It also provides enhanced features and VoIP services that improve the user experience. Advanced call routing, image transfer, phone portability, as well as integration with other collaboration applications, such as voicemail delivery via email, voice call button on email are examples of functionality users have come to expect. Read More »

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Do you need to work from the office to maximise employee productivity?

Recently, there’s been a significant amount of media attention on different company policies around teleworking and flexible working practices. This has sparked a lively debate across the internet; opinions have been cast for and against this transformation in culture. So, will this action have any repercussions on employee motivation and productivity?

The availability of remote and flexible working options can potentially improve employee morale, and worker productivity. A recent poll conducted by Staples Advantage (March 2013) found that 93% of US employees believed that working away from the office was beneficial for staff and managers. The research also showed the 75% of business decision makers noticed that employees were happier when they were allowed to work remotely and 53% said they were more productive.  Read More »

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The Changing Enterprise Desktop Environment

Today’s workplace is radically different from ten or even five years ago.  Work has changed. The way people work has changed, and technology needs to be in synch with these changes. In the office, people still want access to traditional conveniences, including a desk phone.  They also want access to high quality video from the desktop, and, some want to use many of the capabilities they use every day on their smart phones.  It’s the whole “consumerization of IT” in action.

At Enterprise Connect 2013 this week, Cisco is debuting our latest addition to the enterprise desktop: the DX650. The DX650, orderable globally today, is an Android based phone that delivers traditional voice functionality, high-definition 1080p video, and many features commonly associated with today’s smartphones  straight to the desktop.

And, on top of the Android operating system, we’ve added Cisco software, which provides better security, quality of service, manageability and higher fidelity audio and video. In short, this new disruptive technology is doing for the desk phone what smartphones did for mobile devices. Imagine – a smartphone experience for the desktop where users will never have to worry about battery life or dropped calls.

New capabilities include:

Cisco DX650

Cisco DX650

  • High quality video: In addition to extending the 1080p high quality video experience to the desktop, users can also dial directly into a TelePresence meeting or connect to any standards-based video endpoint from the device.
  • Smartphone capabilities at the desktop: The phone has many “smart” features or attributes, including a familiar Android user interface, instant access to critical applications and the ability to create multiple unique user profiles. Each profile can easily integrate with the user’s email and calendar as well as a full directory of contacts and speed dials. Applications such as Cisco Jabber, WebEx, and AnyConnect come preloaded on the phone.
  • Cloud-readiness: This new phone enables users to access on-premises or cloud-based applications. Given that this is a fully compatible Android device (Compatibility Test Suite certified), users can now access enterprise applications such as customer service portals or CRM solutions from the DX650’s built in browser. Or, they can view content and share video with colleagues through cloud collaboration applications such as Cisco WebEx, available natively on the phone or through the Google Play store.
  • Teleworking: We’ve also ensured that the DX650 supports multiple connectivity options. The DX650 can connect to the network wired or wirelessly. It also has a built in VPN client so remote users, working from home or in branch locations, can access their enterprise applications as needed.

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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