SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sept. 19, 2005 - Responding to the need for smart, simple and secure network solutions specifically designed for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and mid-market companies, Cisco Systems today introduced the Cisco Business Communications Solution featuring a tailored family of products, services, support and financing options to help businesses control costs, improve operations and gain a sustainable competitive advantage.
As part of the solution, Cisco also announced the new SMB-class Cisco Catalyst® Express 500 Series switching family and additions to its IP Communications portfolio, including new IPC applications and an expanded line of XML-enabled IP phones.
"While the business objectives of SMB and mid-market customers may vary, they each require increased protection for their business assets, 24-hour uptime, reduced operating costs, higher productivity and better responsiveness to customers," said Mika Krammer, SMB research vice president, Gartner, Inc.. "Savvy SMB and mid-market customers realize that products alone won't address their needs. Rather, they need a holistic solution that will allow them to focus on running their business, instead of having to systems-integrate their own products, services and financing.
Cisco Business Communications Solution for SMB Customers
Cisco Business Communications Solution system for SMB customers with 20 to 250 employees is based on the new Cisco Catalyst Express 500 switch and the IP Communications Express Solution featuring Cisco CallManager Express and Cisco Unity Express within the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR).
The innovative Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series switches are built specifically for businesses who want to run converged networks. As a family of wire-speed Layer 2-managed Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet switches, it provides a security-enabled network foundation optimized for data, wireless and voice. Together with the Cisco Network Assistant 3.0 application, customers and partners now can quickly and easily configure their networks and enable advanced technologies such as wireless LANs and IP Communications in a solution purpose-built for the SMB.
For simple, all-in-one communications, Cisco is introducing new versions of Cisco CallManager Express and Cisco Unity Express. Cisco CallManager Express 3.3 features embedded "MeetMe" conferencing for 20 to 96 users, enhanced call routing and queuing capabilities and increased security. Cisco Unity Express 2.2 offers new Auto Attendant integration with Basic Automatic Call Distribution and five new languages. Together, these solutions deliver affordable, converged data and voice services. They are available immediately and are free upgrades to customers with Cisco SMARTnet® support contracts.
For its channel partners, Cisco is introducing tools and programs to support the effective delivery of complete solutions to SMB and mid-market customers. The tools include the Cisco IP Communications Express Quick Configuration Tool to speed the configuration and deployment of a fully-converged small office voice and data solution, as well as tools for remote monitoring and reporting on the health of their customer's networks. Programs include simple quotation tools and ordering bundles, as well financial incentives for successfully implementing a complete converged solution in a customer environment.
Rounding out the whole offer for SMB customers, Cisco also introduced the Cisco SMB Support Assistant, now supporting voice, that provides access to Cisco technical experts, operating system software maintenance releases, advance hardware replacement and the SMB Support Assistant portal and client electronic tools which simplify the ability to set up, configure, and troubleshoot, with easy-to-understand instructions. New Easy-Lease financing from Cisco Capital is also available in many parts of the world - a fast, simple and efficient application process with expedited funding of up to 60-month terms with competitive rate pricing structure focused on Cisco Business Communications Solutions.
"The Cisco Business Communications Solution is ideal for a company our size as we implement IP Communications. It's been incredibly simple to get up and running and since the security is inherent in the design, we didn't need to bolt on ad-hoc security features," said Jeff Snider, vice president of IT and marketing, Peoples' Federal Credit Union. "The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series switches have all the security and quality you expect from the Cisco Catalyst portfolio of switches, but now the easy-to-use interface lets small businesses take full advantage of these features. With the Cisco Network Assistant 3.0 offered at no additional cost, we maximize our network performance by automatically configuring the services, in addition to auto-detecting and immediately fixing network issues."
Cisco Business Communications Solution for Mid-Market Companies
For companies with 250 to 1500 employees, the Cisco Business Communications Solution features enhancements to a comprehensive mid-market portfolio based on Cisco CallManager and a host of new smart, simple and secure IP Communications applications such as Cisco MeetingPlace Express, Mobile Connect, Unity Connection and management tools:
Cisco MeetingPlace Express - a voice and Web conferencing solution that makes it easy and affordable for medium-sized organizations to realize the cost savings and productivity benefits of deploying conferencing over internal networks. Its functions can be extended to Cisco IP phones to where users can initiate, join and manage their meetings.
Cisco Mobile Connect - a new product available for Cisco CallManager users who want to consolidate all their business calls with a single IP phone number connected to multiple devices, such as mobile, desk and home office phones, and immediately connect wherever they are. Mobile workers can continue a call on their IP desk phone after they arrive at the office and take advantage of any IP phone services.
Cisco Unity Connection - an easy to deploy and manage Web browser-based voice-messaging system with integrated messaging, speech recognition and call routing rules with robust automated-attendant functions such as intelligent routing and easily customizable call-screening and message notification options.
Cisco Voice Provisioning Tool, CiscoWorks IPC Operations Manager and Services Monitor - powerful, simple and easy to use Web browser-based tools used for provisioning, monitoring and reporting of the entire Cisco IP Communications portfolio.
Rounding out the mid-market solution, customers can choose from a variety of Cisco Catalyst switches, routers, wireless and security options and utilize the Cisco SMARTnet offering for 24x7x365 support with more advanced technical assistance, tools and information, operating system software updates and upgrades and advance hardware replacement as well as flexible leasing options from Cisco Capital and Cisco channel partners.
Mid-Market Switching Family Introduced
Cisco today also announced the availability of the Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switch Series, delivering intelligent services such as integrated security, advanced Quality of Service (QoS) and multicast services to mid-market customers. This new family of fixed-configuration switches provide wire speed Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet desktop connectivity with dual-purpose uplinks, addressing the evolving needs of the network edge.
For more information on the Cisco Business Communications Solution, go to:http://www.cisco.com/go/businesscommunications.