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Telework as we know it

As I sit in my home office, surrounded by amazing technology, I’m struck by how different telework is today from just a few years ago.

A few years ago it started with a second phone line and the company VPN.  Today my laptop is plugged into a workstation connected to a Cisco router, as is my Cisco IP phone.  When someone calls my work phone it rings in multiple places at once.  And my computer monitor is huge, which makes my high-definition videoconferences all the more interesting. I can even access the corporate network with my iPad, at home or on the go.  For me, it’s all seamless.  Everything I do is connected, and easier, thanks to Cisco. Read More »

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Cisco and Singlewire Bring New Paging Capabilities to Cisco Unified Communications Manager

Cisco is pleased to announce that with the release of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 9.1, we will include new paging functionality with all new CUCM orders.  This paging functionality will be provided by one of our long-standing development partners, Singlewire Software (formerly Berbee) and will help enhance the paging/notification capabilities available within CUCM.  We have received a number of requests for basic paging functionality and this offering allows our partner/customer base to meet customer paging requirements in an easy to deploy way.  Details are outlined in Singlewire’s press release, which can be found here.

Singlewire has enjoyed a successful partnership with Cisco in the past and has more than 4,000 CUCM customers running InformaCast today in 50 countries.  We believe this tightly integrated model greatly strengthens Cisco’s Enterprise and Mid Market Unified Communications offerings. This complete bundled offering allows Cisco partners to close deals in verticals where Advanced Notification is required: for example, industries such as education, manufacturing, hospitality, or transit.  Partners can leverage these new paging and notification features to change the sales conversation, using the most comprehensive notification solution to meet customer needs with a single vendor/product solution for voice and emergency notification.

The advanced features provide great sales conversation starters to set your Cisco UC system apart from your competitors. Included with this are features like:

  • Pre-recorded/scheduled broadcasts, such as school bells or shift changes
  • Notification to Jabber IM users
  • Triggered notifications- M2M input/output (This includes notifications and alerts for panic buttons, door locks, and lights to name a few.)
  • Integration to existing overhead paging systems and IP Speakers
  • 911/emergency call monitoring, alerting and recording

With this announcement, we are able to offer the basic paging aspects of Singlewire’s well-known InformaCast offering at no cost to our CUCM customers. Read More »

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Enhancing Collaboration with New Integrated Audio Accessories

Today, I am pleased to post a guest blog from Cisco partner, Jabra, authored by Chris Briglin, Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Jabra. 

One of my favorite quotes in the technology business is: ”The next big thing is whatever makes the last big thing usable.” To me this really speaks to the importance of a great user experience in driving the widespread adoption and deployment of technology solutions. While there are lots of business problems out there and many technology-based solutions created to address those needs, solutions that address business needs through a superior user experience are typically the ones that thrive.

As noted in Cisco’s announcement last week, Jabra partnered with Cisco to co-develop audio devices that enhance the collaboration experience on Cisco Jabber for virtual environments. By combining Jabra’s expertise in audio engineering, product design and software integration with Cisco’s leadership in unified communications, we created two audio devices Read More »

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New Cisco Jabber for Virtual Environments Provides Superior User Experience

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, Read More »

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One Address to Reach them All?

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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