Cisco Reduces Cost and Complexity of IP Telephony Systems While Adding Video, Instant Messaging and Presence Features Purpose-Built for Midsize Businesses
Rich heritage in unified communications enables Cisco to deliver enterprise-grade collaboration functionality while maintaining simplicity and low cost
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Nov. 2, 2011 – Building on its expertise in unified communications (UC), Cisco announced today a series of advancements that can give midsize businesses access to "enterprise grade" IP phone systems with integrated collaboration capabilities without taxing already constrained IT and financial resources.
Cisco introduced innovations to the Cisco® Business Edition3000 and the Cisco Business Edition 6000 (formerly known as the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000 and 6000 respectively). Through these innovations, midsize customers can now access collaboration offerings — ranging from rich video to instant messaging (IM) to presence— at price points attractive to the cost-sensitive market. Additionally, these solutions are simple to use, configure and support. The Cisco Business Edition family, together with Cisco WebEx® and Cisco TelePresence® for small and medium-sized businesses announced last week, provide a complete portfolio of capabilities for mid-size organizations.
Currently, most mid-size organizations operate aging public branch exchange (PBX) systems and old telephony applications — even though these systems scale poorly, are increasingly expensive to maintain, and fail to meet today's business and mobility needs. While IP telephony systems offer distinct performance and efficiency benefits, many have held on to the old technology thinking that IP-based systems are beyond their budget and IT skill level.
With this announcement, Cisco is debunking the myth that IP telephony is out of the price range of mid-sized businesses by making available systems for as little as $100 per user for a 100-person organization while also including functionality that allows smaller shops to harness the power of business-changing unified communications solutions.
New in the Cisco Business Edition 3000 (focused on companies with 75 to 200 users)
- Reduced costs and increased flexibility for PSTN connectivity: The Cisco Business Edition 3000 includes integration of key features such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking via the Cisco Unified Border Element. Now mid-size businesses can save money by replacing costly traditional fixed public switched telephone network (PSTN) lines with PSTN connectivity via a SIP trunking service provider on the Internet.
- Powerful flexibility to virtually meet clients, suppliers and partners, anywhere, anytime: Customers also can benefit fromintegration with the Cisco WebEx web conferencing solution. With this, employees can plan or initiate ad hoc meetings with other co-workers or third parties while taking advantage of full document sharing.
- Enterprise-class open standards platform for IM and presence now for mid-sized businesses: Customers can enjoy integration with Cisco Jabber™ for IM and presence. Delivered through the Cisco Collaboration Cloud, Cisco Jabber provides a single, consistent experience allowing business workers to easily and in a highly secure manner find the right people, see if and how they are available, and collaborate using their preferred method—be it presence, IM, voice and video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, web conferencing or audio.
- Video as easy as voice: Now, placing a video call as easy as placing a voice call. Utilizing the Cisco Unified IP Phones 8941 and 8945, workers simply dial a regular phone number and the participants see one another on their respective devices. This enables small and midsize businesses to reap the benefits of video collaboration – including the ability to see non verbal cues – at a very cost effective entry price.
- Country compatibility out of the box: To enable simple and rapid set-up, new country-specific dial plans are now available for the US, Canada, China, India, Russia and Australia; dial plans for the UK, France, Spain and Italy are scheduled to be available in the first quarter of CY 2012. User and administrator interfaces are also presented in localized languages.
- Simple and powerful tools for customer call handling: On aging PBX systems, many calls are dropped or routedincorrectly, leading to reduced productivity and customer frustration. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 8961 integrates with the Cisco Unified Attendant Console Compact Edition. The new attendant console application greatly streamlines the operator's ability to route calls and ensure customers are connected with the right internal resource.
New to the Cisco Business Edition 6000 (focused on companies with 150 to 750 users)
- Reduced complexity by integrating cloud-based offers. Cisco has integrated Cisco WebEx Meeting Center and Cisco Jabber for IM and presence into the Cisco Business Edition 6000. This eases the provisioning of these applications as web conferencing becomes the default way to connect people in remote offices, and cloud becomes the preferred method of delivery, since it saves money and reduces management complexity.
- Reduced costs via embedded virtualization software: The Cisco Business Edition 6000 already addressed midmarket needs to control costs by virtualizing applications that enable the system to provide everything from voice messaging to call control. In this release, Cisco takes it a step further by embedding the virtualization software required to operate those virtualized applications. This advancement helps customers save money by reducing virtualization software acquisition costs as well as ongoing maintenance fees.
- Lower user limits: While the Cisco Business Edition 6000 is geared towards companies with 150 to 750 users, Cisco recognizes that it may be attractive to companies with a smaller number of users, especially ones that anticipate substantial growth. Consequently, the lower limit for the Cisco Business Edition 6000 is now 50 users (formerly 100). Larger companies will also find this change attractive since many of these organizations are looking for a powerful system to implement in branch offices or subsidiaries that's independent from the main system but is still networked back to the headquarter offices.
- Availability: New functionality announced today is scheduled to be available November 2011.
- Pricing: Expected customer pricing for the Cisco Business Edition 3000 starts at $100/user for a 100-user system; for the Cisco Business Edition 6000 pricing starts at $158/user for a 225-user system.
Alan Berry, IS manager, Kettle Foods
"With 800 employees, Kettle Produce is one of Britain's biggest suppliers of fresh vegetables to major supermarkets and multiple retailers. A single missed phone call can mean a major missed revenue opportunity if we harvest too little or a major problem if we harvest crops that may rot because no one wants to buy them that day. By replacing our aging PBX system with the Cisco Business Edition 3000, we got all the functionality we need today to maintain and grow our business. In the foreseeable future, we could reap further benefits by replacing regular business trips to our sister company in Spain with video conferences enabled by our new system."
Steve Slattery, vice president and general manager, IP Communications Business Unit (IPCBU), Cisco
"Cisco is striving to help midmarket organizations succeed by giving them greater opportunities for cross-company collaboration and the benefits of video-enhanced interactions. Innovations like the ones announced today show Cisco's commitment to innovating to meet to distinct needs of the midmarket at price points that are attractive to such companies."
Gary Nordine, president, NetXperts (a Cisco Gold Certified Partner)
"As a Cisco channel partner and trusted advisor to our mid-market customers, we look to provide an affordable collaboration solution for customers that delivers robust collaboration capabilities and addresses pressing business needs. We've installed and supported the Cisco Business Edition portfolio for our customers, and the new enhancements plus Cisco's partner programs will help us accelerate and grow our collaboration practice."
- Find out more about Cisco Unified Communications
- Visit Cisco Small Business website
- Visit Cisco Partner Central website
- Visit the Cisco Channels blog
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About Cisco Collaboration
From award-winning IP communications to mobility, customer care, Web conferencing, messaging, enterprise social software, and interoperable telepresence experiences, Cisco brings together network-based, integrated collaboration solutions based on open standards. These solutions offered across on-premise, cloud-based or virtualized platforms, as well as services from Cisco and our partners, are designed to help promote business growth, innovation and productivity. They are also designed to help accelerate team performance, protect investments, and simplify the process of finding the right people and information.
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.
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