SAN JOSE, Calif., October 10, 2006 - Cisco Systems today announced significant enhancements to its Unified Communications suite of voice, data and video products to more effectively connect businesses of all sizes and improve the communications experience in mobile and contact center environments. The new Cisco Unified Communications system enhancements include a new Cisco Unified Internet Protocal (IP) telephone, a new desktop integration application and greater scalability for rich-media conferencing, messaging and call processing solutions. Cisco is also introducing a range of tools, offers and services designed to make Cisco channel partners even more effective and successful in deploying Cisco Unified Communications solutions.
"Cisco continues to provide the innovations that extend the power and productivity of Unified Communications to customers of all sizes, with improved desktop integration, and enhanced mobility and collaboration solutions," said Rick Moran, Cisco's vice president of Unified Communications Marketing. "These enhancements improve the user experience for both end-users and system managers and increase customer flexibility and choice with support for additional third-party applications and services."
Total Communications Experience for SMBs
Small and medium-sized businesses can improve customer service, increase business efficiencies, and reduce operational costs using the enhanced Cisco Unified Communications products. New features include the Cisco Unified CallConnector, which provides an easy to use telephony features toolbar, integrated screen pops, directory integration and presence and "Click to Dial" capability from Microsoft Outlook or Internet Explorer.
The new Cisco Unified IP Phone 7931G provides 24 lighted line keys and four interactive soft keys that guide a user through call features, providing functions sought after in commercial and retail environments.
"We are excited about the new Cisco Unified IP Phone 7931G because it really addresses the communication needs of our end users and the way that they do business," said William Hemmle, senior network manager, Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. "The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7931G is a 24-button phone with key system-like features that is easy for our store employees to use, therefore reducing our training requirements and rollout time, while enabling store staff to be more productive and offer an enhanced level of customer service."
Streamlining Business Processes for Large and Multi-Site Customers
The new product enhancements will also benefit enterprise customers who want to streamline their business processes and improve their bottom line. The new enhancements include the Cisco Unified Application Environment which enables rapid development, reliable execution and automated management of applications that combine voice and video with enterprise applications and data.
The Cisco Unified Operations Manager 2.0 and Cisco Unified Service Monitor 2.0 now provide additional tools for simplifying communications system management. In addition, the Cisco Unified Videoconferencing Manager is a new application that allows organizations using Cisco Unified Videoconferencing to easily schedule and control videoconferences from a Web browser and Microsoft Outlook calendars.
Businesses can now take advantage of the enhanced Cisco Unity Connection which offers enhanced voice-enabled directory handlers and doubles voice mailbox capacity; while the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 5.4 update offers enhanced videoconferencing scalability and scheduling capabilities through improved Cisco Unified MeetingPlace interfaces, support for Lotus Notes 7.1, and enhanced instant messaging integration. Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express has been updated to support up to 200 concurrent voice conferencing users and will offer Microsoft Outlook calendar integration and ad-hoc videoconferencing later in the year. The new Cisco Unified PhoneProxy product extends enterprise phone access and features to remote workers by securing Cisco Unified IP phones deployed in homes and other remote locations, without the need for a VPN router.
Contact Center Portfolio Enhancements
Cisco also announced enhancements to the Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions portfolio including updated Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise and Hosted products to provide increased scalability for large, enterprise-wide deployments to reliably support virtualized contact center environments. The enhanced Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal (CVP) 4.0, which provides automated speech-based, self-service for contact centers, offers a superior level of automated speech capabilities with improved operations, administration, management and provisioning applications.
"Successful completion of an internal trial of Cisco CVP 4.0 demonstrated the significant enhancements this upgraded tool will bring to our existing Cisco-based IPCC solution," says Eric Fletcher, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Enterprise Solutions, MTS Allstream - Canada's leading national communications solutions provider and one of Cisco's key partners. "Deploying Cisco's leading IP-based contact center platform builds on MTS Allstream's knowledge and expertise in delivering compelling contact center solutions for our enterprise customers and strengthens our leadership position in offering innovative IP-based technologies to meet the changing needs of businesses today."
Channel Tools, Offers and Services
As part of its ongoing investment to enable its channel partners, Cisco is introducing a series of new and enhanced channel tools, offers and services. The Cisco Quote Builder, a solution-based quoting application, helps channel partners quickly create and quote an integrated wireless, security and unified communications solution for single and multiple office locations. An enhanced version of the Cisco® Unified Communications Express Quick Configuration Tool (QCT) is now available and incorporates SIP trunking. Using the QCT application, a standard Cisco Unified Communications SMB configuration with 50 Cisco Unified IP phones or fewer can be completed in less than one hour. Also, to help partners and customers improve cash flow management, Cisco Capital has extended its zero percent progress payment promotion in the U.S. and Canada through July 31, 2007.
Cisco and its partners provide a lifecycle services approach to deploy and manage the Cisco Unified Communications system. New Cisco Operate Services for Unified Communications combine technical support services such as server replacement, application software updates and hardware and software problem resolution, into one service that covers the entire system. To ensure proper deployment and ease of ordering, Cisco is also offering Planning and Design Service Bundles and Optimization Services.
About Cisco Unified Communications
Based on the Cisco Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA), the Cisco Unified Communications system is an open and extensible platform for real-time communications based on presence, mobility and the intelligent information network. By using the data network as the service delivery platform, the system helps workers to reach the right resource the first time by delivering presence and preference information to an organization's employees. For more information on the Cisco Unified Communications system visit: www.cisco.com/go/unified.