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Unified Communication Manager Evolution Blog Series

The evolution blog series focuses on the latest developments of Unified Communications Manager, what’s new in the latest versions, the best functions and features that clearly demonstrate the value of upgrading older versions, whether that’s on-premise, in the cloud with Cisco Unified Communications Manager Cloud, or a Cisco Hosted Collaboration solution. The world is changing and evolving… These blogs explore why, and so must we.


If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is paramount, in all walks of life. Workplace flexibility has taken on new meaning. From within this context, Cisco has developed our next generation Communications Systems Release, CSR 12.8 (CUCM 12.5 SU3) for all products that support Cisco Unified Communications Server solutions, delivered as cloud, or on-premises solutions.

Communications systems are complicated, by nature. However, using and managing these systems is a much more enjoyable experience when the systems themselves are built for flexibility. With CSR 12.8, flexibility is one of the most important qualities we have focused on bringing to our customers.

A Showcase User Experience for the Hybrid Workplace

The 2020 work environment has transformed into a hybrid workplace, where people will continue to work from home, as much, or more than they go into a traditional office. We’re seeing the work from anywhere workforce adjust by turning to using headsets more often. Whereas, for entertainment, features like advanced noise cancellation and HD audio are nice, because of the long hours of use for workers, these features have become essential.

Cisco anticipated this demand, when we introduced our Cisco 500 Series headsets. With our new Cisco Headset 730, a Red Dot design award-winning headset, we have elevated the work from anywhere audio experience. With two levels of noise cancellation and Clear Voice audio technology Cisco headsets deliver a superior performance that eliminates the stress of bad audio from your work day.

With CSR 12.8, we’ve taken the business headset another step forward. For hygienic safety, employees can use their Cisco headset to log into their Cisco desk phone in a shared workspace environment, without ever touching the phone itself. This is enabled through headset integration to the Extension Mobility feature.

In the contact center, agents get a more intuitive experience where they can control their readiness state with the push of a button on their Cisco headset.  Agents can also do state change on Finesse UI which automatically get synched with the LED indicator on their Cisco headset.

Because having a more distributed workforce puts additional strain on the server infrastructure that runs your system, you faced the potential of slower performance, or even system outages that would impact system uptime. To remedy that, CUCM 12.5 SU3 offers a high availability web traffic management through a specialized, HAProxy service that reduces the stress on web servers, to provide faster, more stable and reliable service for everyone.

Continued Mobile Performance Advantage

As we focus on workforce mobility, it’s important all the mobile devices your employees are using remain connected to your Unified CM applications, to keep calling, messaging and meetings activities productive from anywhere. Recent changes in the push notification services used by devices running either Android or Apple mobile operating systems are designed to reduce power consumption of mobile communications apps, like the Cisco Jabber mobile app and the Webex Teams app.

CSR 12.8 supports the new push notification services for both Apple and Android mobile devices, so your workforce can continue to use the Jabber or Webex Teams mobile app for calling and collaboration when mobile.

For iOS devices, CSR 12.8 supports the Apple iOS 13 CallKit, which delivers a native device call handling experience for iPhone users. When a call is received on an iPhone running iOS 13, the user can answer their phone directly from the call notification screen, without going through the extra steps of unlocking their device, finding the Jabber or Webex Teams app and answering the call.

A Safer Return to the Office

Whether your workforce has already returned to the office, or not, Cisco has introduced valuable enhancements to our devices, to ensure your workers have safe options for using their office collaboration devices. In addition to the headset controls I mentioned earlier, other new features include the use of voice commands, through the Webex Assistant, to control room and huddle space devices.

 

We’ve added environmental sensors, so that you can notify conference room users when new room capacity limits have been exceeded, as well as send notifications to facilities staff when rooms need cleaning, between uses.

These features are supported on new and updated Webex devices. With CSR 12.8, we’ve added direct configuration support for all the new and previously existing current Webex devices, including the Webex Desk Pro, Webex Room Phone and Webex Room Panorama. Now you can use the native CUCM interface to configure your Webex devices, without the additional burden of installing COP files.

CSR 12.8 enables organization’s digital transformation by simplifying new IP Phones deployment. If you want to replace existing desk phones, for any reason, or enable employees to use a Cisco IP phone at home, we’ve made phone replacement and installation a DIY self-service process  your workers will be able to complete on their own, without IT involvement. This capability will be available natively on your UCM deployment without any additional software, hardware or licenses.

Watch this video to see how easy it is.

Stay Alert with Security and Compliance Updates

The need for continued security and compliance enhancements never stops. Cisco Unified CM system supports the US federal requirements for Kari’s Law, as pertains to multi-line phone systems. Now, with CSR 12.8, you will get automated compliance checks, to help your administrators prepare to meet these requirements.

System security is better as well now, with secure, SMTP messaging and more secure voicemail notifications and transcriptions, with Cisco Unity Connection.

As a market leader in collaboration and communications solutions, Cisco goes to great lengths to ensure we deliver the latest in innovation, performance and security in every product we release to market. Because innovation in the collaboration market moves quickly, we always keep moving forward.

If you have had your Unified CM system for more than a year, we thank you for your belief in Cisco and we honor your belief with continuous innovation. In this blog, I have highlighted the many compelling reasons to upgrade to CSR 12.8. For more details, I invite you visit the product page and to watch the videos we produced for the most recent Cisco Live event:

Bringing Innovation to Unified Communications Manager Premise and Cloud

On-premises Unified Communications Update with Focus on Cisco Unified Communications Manager

I encourage you to reach out to your Cisco account team, or authorized Cisco reseller partner to learn more now and get started on the next phase of your Cisco collaboration journey.

Thank you.

Learn more about Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager)

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Connect with other blogs in the Unified Communication Manager Evolution Blog Series

Cisco Recognized as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 UCaaS Magic Quadrant 

The UC System for the Future of Work: Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) Release 12.5

Get Out of the ‘Phone Business’ with Cisco Cloud Calling

What is Cloud Calling? Why is it Better than Legacy PBX?