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One Address to Reach them All?

January 11, 2013 at 8:59 am PST

I once attended a customer meeting quite a few years ago where someone in the room stated that, “regardless of the collaboration channel employed, unified communications should provide everyone with a single identity to make it really easy for customers to reach the company’s employees”. I remember agreeing that although a worthwhile goal, providing users with a solitary identifier was not going to be technically feasible due to the fact we didn’t address emails with a phone number and we unfortunately had (and still do have) the “PSTN” (Public Switched Telephone Network) to deal with.

Has anything changed? I’d really like to know if anyone in the industry is predicting that we’ll ever be able have a unique global communications address, or like me, you have the opinion that the current multi-identity status quo will continue for the foreseeable future. In our current electronic communications world most of us have a minimum of two to three identities. I’m globally reachable via a couple of Cisco E.164 telephone numbers, one for my desk phone and the other for my mobile. I also have a corporate URI (Universal Resource Identifier), which most people would recognize as my email address, but nowadays also represents me as an instant messaging entity as well as associating me with three personal video endpoints. I think people naturally know when it is appropriate to use asynchronous (email or IM) communications or synchronous (telephony or video) communications, which is why we’ve all just accepted the evolution of different identities for different types of dialogue. What’s recently blurred the situation is the wide scale adoption of video URI dialing within enterprises and across the Internet resulting in a more complex addressing environment for our real time interactions. Do I call someone on their telephone number or their video URI, or should I send them an instant message to ask them?

For Cisco the answer has been Read More »

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“Rules of Thumb” for Co-Locating UC Hosts on Cisco UCS Servers

One part of my job involves designing the virtualization model for our internal unified communications (UC) system deployments around the world. A critical task in this design is specifying which UC virtual machines (VMs) can share a Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) server chassis or blade and which ones can’t. When migrating UC servers to a shared virtual environment, we need to make sure we carefully balance each VM’s needs for CPU, storage, network and memory. Read More »

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ACE Network: Making Voice Calls Easier with Cisco Unified Mobility Single Number Reach

December 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm PST

I use my desk phone only about once a day, but most callers still reach me on their first try. How is this possible? With Cisco Unified Mobility: Single Number Reach (SNR), a feature that allows me to control how incoming calls are sent to my desk, mobile, or soft phones.

Although this SNR feature has been supported on Cisco Unified Communications Manager for many years, recent versions that we’ve been testing on the Cisco ACE network extend it to all of the phones and video endpoints I use in my work.

Most ACE network users are salespeople, so SNR is a great tool for helping them stay in touch, especially when traveling, working away from the office or during the holidays. With this in mind, we conducted a study that showed that Cisco could potentially gain the value of more than US $130 million per year from improved productivity by adopting SNR — and that is only taking salespeople into account!

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Upgrading Five UC Clusters to Cisco UCS Reduces Servers and Costs

In an earlier post, my colleague Reid Bourdet described how we migrated our largest Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM) cluster to a virtual machine environment running on Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) servers.  This was the 19-node (server) Cisco UCM cluster that serves the Cisco headquarters campus in San Jose, California; and we completed the migration over a weekend.

What makes that move even more interesting is that we’re nearly done consolidating 5 separate clusters into one virtual environment, and reducing the total number of servers by a factor of four. Virtualization on the Cisco UCS hardware allows us to consolidate multiple UCM nodes on a single blade.  In this post, I’ll provide more details about the scope of this migration, the results we’ve gained, and how we’ll continue migrating other Cisco UCM clusters to Cisco UCS servers around the world.

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ACE Network: Cisco IT Supports a Network for Introducing New Services

IT departments are often caught between the requests of users who want the latest and greatest technology right now­—even if it’s not perfect—and users who value reliable and consistent IT services above all else.

How can you serve both types of users without wasting time, energy, budget, and everyone’s patience? In Cisco IT, we’ve done it by creating the Advanced Cisco Experience (ACE) network. Operating ACE separately from our production network, we use it to introduce new IT services and products to a group of technology specialists before we deploy those services company-wide. These services include new releases of Cisco unified communications, collaboration, video, and mobility technology products that our employees use to work the way they want, across different devices and locations, which drives gains in user productivity. Read More »

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