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IP Telephony got Unified and now UC goes Mobile!

- February 18, 2009 - 9 Comments

Unified Communications is about collaboration and collaborative business processes. It’s about connecting people to information through the use of applications on open and private networks. Unified Communications is really about having the ability to communicate whenever and wherever, utilizing such features as single number reach, presence and messaging. A growing trend of collaboration applications, virtual workspaces and mobile integration all have inherent value to reduce costs, decrease the need for travel and improve employee efficiency. Work is no longer confined to a single place and hand sets are no longer required to communicate. With the downturn of the economy and tighter IT spending, companies are looking for ways to reduce cost and consolidate hardware. Considering whether users need a desk phone and a mobile device, often ranging from three to several hundred dollars per unit, consolidation seems inevitable. A recent article published by Gartner predicts by year end 2013, it is expected that 40 percent of enterprise workers will have abandoned or removed their desk phone. As the article points out, this will not be an easy challenge where there will be some resistance from older generation ‘legacy’ workers preventing change. There will be other challenges to consider, such as battery life, voice quality, enhanced presence and federation, carrier exclusive partnerships, compatibility, 3G availability (e.g. 3G isn’t available in India), device CPU and memory.In a study last year, smart phones made up about 14% of all mobile devices shipped globally and they are expected to increase to more than 17% of the total in 2009 according to new projections from ABI Research Inc. in New York.Mobile smart phones which have capabilities offering enterprise level communications and PC-like functionality such as email, conferencing and calendaring some consider will replace the desk phone. The list of features on smart phones that are important to enterprise end users includes “push-based” e-mail (mail that is delivered instantly as oppose to manually being fetched by the mail client at set intervals), calendar and contact management. BlackBerry and Good Technologies offer such “push-based” email service. Apple recently released the software development kit (SDK) which enables external developers to build third-party applications that will greatly expand the device’s potential as a business tool plus mollify some enterprise IT concerns. Considering the AppStore only opened in January (2009), Apple has already passed over the 20,000 applications mark with many focused on enterprise level communications. Google is poised to start offering premium applications through Google Market and Nokia is rumored to be joining the likes of Apple, Google, RIM and Samsung to launch its application store.Cisco continues to offers a variety of mobile solutions such as dual-mode, where devices seamlessly make voice calls, connect and transfer from a private Wi-Fi network (WLAN) to a public cellular network and vice versa. Cisco Dual-Mode Device Partners include Intermec, Nokia and RIM. Cisco also offers the Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator (CUMC) that offer features such as visual voicemail, corporate directory access and enterprise call log. CUMC also includes presence if integrated with Cisco Unified Presence Server (CUPS). Cisco recently began offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) mobile solutions by way of the Cisco WebEx Meeting Center application on the iPhone. The iPhone application is used to present information, share applications, and collaborate on projects with customers, partners, and employees around the globe, in real-time. The Cisco WebEx Meeting Center also supports “dusting” by seamlessly transferring WebEx Meeting Center and Cisco Unified MeetingPlace conferencing sessions from an iPhone to Mac or PC and vice versa. Cisco is not the only vendor pushing enterprise collaboration to the smart phones, Avaya one-X Mobile enables a mobile phone to have access to enterprise telephony features like multiparty conferencing, multilevel transfer, extension dialing, mute, hold and many others when using a telephony integration deployment. Features also include visual voicemail, corporate directory access, dial-by-PBX, enterprise call log, and user-controlled call routing. Avaya one-X Mobile integration support includes Symbian, Windows Mobile, RIM, iPhone, Palm, Java, and WAP. Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile also offers a similar enterprise capabilities that extends instant messaging and presence awareness of its Live Communications Server to smart phones based on the Windows Mobile operating system. MOC Mobile allows LCS users to make voice over IP calls from Wi-Fi enabled Windows Mobile phones to PCs and vice versa while within the corporate networkThe question remains will the ‘desk phone’ be replaced, will ‘smartphones’ gain market share, or will the ‘PC’ dominate the way we communicate, or will they all co-exist? The answer is to make Unified Communications ubiquitous through all devices such as desk phones, mobile phones and Dave Turner, Advanced Services Delivery Manager, Cisco

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  1. Hosted telephony is a system which eliminates manual call management. We have known PBX and telephone operators who made us wait for long durations to connect us to the right department and staff. Usually apologizing later that the concerned person is either not available or there is no one in the department who can attend us. Many a times they would have connected us to the wrong staff or department. As a caller we all would have wished to get a better service. How about giving a similar feeling to our customers? What if they are impressed by the service and wonder how do they do it? Hosted telephony is the only system that is capable of providing an experience to any customer. It eliminates the need of operators who made us wait till be loose our patience and hang up. Hosted telephony is self interactive and will guide anyone correctly to the required department. It can quickly find a receiver who can answer your call. Not only that, it will inform you if the receiver is out of office and that you may leave a voice message for him. Hosted telephony is a part of non-geographic freephone numbers i.e. 0800 numbers, 0844 numbers, 0845 numbers and all other numbers that are available."

  2. Like IP telephony, hosted telephony is also being used by small business owners. One of the ways in which they ensure uninterrupted services is through hosted telephony services such as 0800 numbers, 0844 numbers, 0845 numbers and 0871 numbers."

  3. Hi,What i know about ip is that it transfers telephone calls over internet. But i want to explore more about it can anybody help?ThanksMichell

  4. Video conferencing , video calling , video chat proved beneficial for my office, the process to communicate and interact across boundaries have changed , hence modern equipments have changed the work flows .

  5. Lars,please visit the webex team for a demonstration or contact your local Sales team. I do apologize that I cannot be of further assistance. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of the release dates.Regards,Dave

  6. Hi DaveBy coincidence, do you know what I need to demo dusting??? I'm chasing Cisco people to provide me with this, but not that much happen. And yes I know it should be available in CY 2 2009...Kind regardsLars

  7. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.Joannah

  8. Hi Kare,I can certainly give you some real life examplesA sports team in Florida have scouts that travel all over the world. Their cell phones bills were up to US$2500 to $3000 each month. Now the scouts are equipped with laptops and Cisco IP Communicator integrated with the IP telephony system and secured with VPN connections. They estimate their monthly phone bills have dropped by as much as 40 percent. A Cisco manufacturing customer expenses for calls to mobile phones had been reduced by 43 percent equating to $300,000 a year by aggregating calls from multiple offices to a single office with the mobile operator offering the best service package.A Law Enforcement customer enabled each officer to spend approximately two additional hours on the street each week. The solution enabled officers to access the police records management system and listen to voicemail on Smartphones rather than return to the office and no longer need to travel to meetings with the station through the use of Webex audio and video conferencing.Another customer's employees moved frequently as projects are completed and new ones begin. Therefore, co-workers and customers developed the habit of just dialing the mobile number first, resulting in high mobile phone bills. Today the customer uses the built-in Cisco Unified Mobility (single-number reach) feature of Cisco Unified Communications Manager 7.0. Callers would dial the users office number and it would simultaneously ring the users office number and Smartphone. The user has the option to answer the call on their Smartphone and then hand it off it to their IP phone when they returned. Conservatively, the customer estimated that they saved at least 10 percent on mobile costs when we introduce Cisco Unified Mobility throughout the company.Also be sure to register for our live webcast on Mobility which Cisco AS mobility team will be presenting on.Title: Better Collaboration on the Go - Part IDates: March 5, 2009 2pm-4pm Eastern Speakers: Mike Coffin, Technical Marketing Engineer, UC Mobility Business Unit Zeeshan Shaikh, Network Consulting Engineering, IP Communications Delivery, Advanced Services Kalpesh Patil, Network Consulting Engineering, IP Communications Delivery, Advanced Services Registration URL: Agenda:What is Cisco Unified Communications (UC) Mobility?Business Impact of implementing Cisco UC MobilityIntegrating Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator and the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) into your corporate environment Architectural ReviewComponents * Cisco Unified Communications Manager * Cisco Unity and Unity Connection * Cisco Unified Presence and Personal Communicator * Collaboration Options * Directory Integration * Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance Deployment Considerations and Best Practices * Dial-via-Office * Cluster Integration * BlackBerry Options * Adaptive Security Appliance Intro to Unified Mobility and Dual Mode Recommended Reading: Your community portal for this program for replays and accompanying presentations can be found at

  9. Can you provide a sample what-if"" scenario and/or real life collaborative business success story using UC equipment?"