News Release

Small, Medium and Mid Market Businesses Get Efficiency Boost from Cisco Unified Communications System

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 6, 2006 - Cisco Systems,
Mar 06, 2006

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 6, 2006 - Cisco Systems, Inc. today announced the launch of the Cisco® Unified Communications system, a new suite of voice, data and video products designed to help small, medium and mid market businesses communicate more effectively and improve productivity.

The Cisco Unified Communications system allows employees to exchange information, whether by email, voice or fax, via a wide choice of fixed and mobile communication devices. For time and resource challenged small, medium and mid market businesses, the Cisco Unified Communications system will provide a richer and more integrated communications experience. New features include the ability to make video calls as easily as voice calls, and all via a highly secure wireless connection on a laptop PC. Users can also communicate and collaborate with colleagues via one single and simple interface, bringing together telephone, email, instant messaging and voice, video or web conferencing on their desktop. This allows increasing employee and customer responsiveness whilst operating more efficiently and cost effectively.

The Cisco Unified Communications system is an extension to the Business Communications Solution announced in September 2005, which provides a whole offer of smart, simple and highly secure products including integrated technologies, services, support and financing, all delivered through partner programmes and designed from the ground up for small, medium and mid market businesses.

Edzard Overbeek, Vice President, Commercial, European Markets, Cisco Systems said: "The Cisco Unified Communications system enables organisations to seamlessly integrate their communications system with their IT infrastructure. To help ensure small, medium and mid market businesses can benefit from this, Cisco is helping companies evolve their technology through a clear path, or Smart Business Roadmap, allowing them to match solutions with their immediate and long-term business needs, and invest for the future without the associated cost or risk."

With the Cisco Smart Business Roadmap, customers can evolve their technology in line with their business needs and implement the Cisco Business Communications Solution, based on the Smart Business Communications Architecture. This architecture is the layer of intelligence upon an open and extensible network designed to enable business applications and services seamlessly interact to deliver voice and data in the right place, at the right time and in the right format. Small, medium and mid market organisations can learn more about the Cisco Smart Business Roadmap by completing the Smart Business Assessment tool, which can be found online at

For SMBs, the Cisco Unified Communications system offers enhancements to Cisco Unified CallManager Express, a feature-rich, easy to set up call-processing system that now manages voice and video communications; Cisco Unity Express for unified messaging with enhanced scalability of up to 250 mailboxes, with new VoiceView Express that allows users to browse their voice mailbox from a PDA, email inbox or Cisco IP (Internet Protocol) phone display; new support for Cisco IP Communicator to enable secure IP- based voice and video calls via a PC or laptop; and new support for Unified Video Advantage which provides customers with effective video telephony capabilities.

For mid market businesses, the Cisco Unified Communications system offers Cisco Unified CallManager, a comprehensive software-based call-processing system that manages IP- based communications; Cisco Unity messaging, which allows e-mail, voice, and fax messages to be sent to one inbox; Cisco Unified MeetingPlace, a conferencing solution that integrates voice, video and web conferencing capabilities; and Cisco Unified Contact Centre, which helps companies enhance call centre efficiency.

Also new to the Cisco Unified Communications system is Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, which simplifies the way employees communicate by bridging the gap between stand-alone applications on the desktop, telephone and network; the Cisco Unified Presence Server, which collects information about a user's status to determine the most effective method of communication; and support for Nokia dual mode smartphones that enable calls over both a public mobile GSM network and a private wireless IP network. Incorporating open standards-based Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) support for Cisco Unified IP phones, the overall Cisco Unified Communications system includes more than 30 new products, enhanced management and administration as well as simplified pricing and services.

"Small and mid-sized businesses may differ across the various industries and regions of the world, but they all require operational efficiency, customer responsiveness, cost containment and network security," said Kneko Burney, President & Chief Strategist of Compass Intelligence, LLC. "A holistic, integrated and simple solution based on industry open standards, rather than ad hoc point products, will enable them to plan a long term technology strategy, and create real business value and competitive edge."

The demand from smaller businesses for effective communications should not be underestimated. Recent research1 by Cisco Systems found that IP telephony is set to boom for SMBs across Europe and the growing markets of Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In Europe 60 percent of all firms surveyed said they are at least fairly aware of the benefits of IP telephony, which rises to just over three- quarters of all firms surveyed (76 percent) in the growing markets.

According to Nick van der Walt, IT manager of CBI Eastern Anstalt, an engineering and construction company for the petrochemical industry, based in Dubai, "Delivering data & voice communications has never been easier with Cisco. Reducing operating costs without compromising quality no matter where you are has always been the biggest hurdle to overcome, and with Cisco I can deliver on time, anywhere."