SAN JOSE, Calif. – June 26, 2012 – As end-user demands for premium mobility and collaboration solutions continue to escalate, and businesses seek cost-effective ways to deliver the technology needed to meet those expectations, Cisco today announced a bevy of new services and capabilities for the Cisco® Unified Communications Manager platform. The services and capabilities are part of what's called Cisco Unified Communications (UC) Release 9.0 and directly address many of the key challenges IT managers are facing today as they seek to "collaboration-enable" their employees both in the office and on-the-go.
Cisco UC Release 9.0 is the foundation of a unified collaboration strategy and includes the following key advancements:
- Support of third-party endpoints. A new Cisco Unified Communications Manager feature called Extend and Connect works with Cisco Jabber™ and is designed to bring any third-party phone—including phones at hotels, airports, convention centers, or even far-flung places like offshore oil rigs or cruise ships sailing half way around the world—into the Cisco UC environment.
- How it works: With Extend and Connect, telecommuters and business travelers can simply input the phone number of their preferred voice device into a Jabber® client running on their Windows PC, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager will route all voice traffic directly to that phone number. This allows the worker to use any third-party phone but get the experience of using a full-featured enterprise phone, so they can enjoy all the communications services they have at the office while they're on the road, such as presence, IM and click-to-call. Extend and Connect can maintain excellent voice quality at all times without being dependent upon the quality of the broadband link.
- Cisco believes employees at businesses globally should have access to Cisco's UC environment, even if those employees are not using Cisco endpoints. Extend and Connect gives businesses a cost-effective way to give employees access to the Cisco UC environment by allowing any vendor phone—old or new, analog, digital or IP—to be controlled by Cisco Jabber. As long as the phone is connected to a telephone line, the user can enjoy all the features and capabilities of Cisco Unified Communications Manager that they would if they were using a Cisco IP Phone. With Extend and Connect, businesses can stretch existing investments by continuing to use existing endpoints while easing migration off legacy PBX systems and providing Cisco UC environment capabilities.
- Support of fixed mobile convergence gives users of any type of mobile phone access to more desk-phone-like features, anywhere—without the need of a smartphone, a data plan, or a mobile client installed on the phone. Enterprise-grade telephony features such as unified inbox, message waiting, callback, conferencing and direct-extension dialing are now available via a new systems interface that ties Cisco Unified Communications Manager with the user's mobile service provider, providing transparency, intelligence and control beyond the realm of the user's office.
Video quality, security, and usability improvements. Video is on the rise in the enterprise—which means IT departments need a way to address quality, security and usability. UC Release 9.0 delivers:
- better bandwidth management via a built-in implementation of Call Admission Control (CAC). CAC automatically creates a logical view of the network so the system can dynamically update traffic management across clusters and locations to help ensure optimal call quality, even during peak usage periods.
- support for additional video endpoints. Cisco Unified Communications Manager is Cisco's platform to manage all collaboration endpoints; with this release, the recently announced Cisco TelePresence® TX9000 joins other telepresence endpoints (including C-Series codecs and SX, MX, EX, VX, Profile, 3000, 1300, 1100 and 500 Series) that are also registered to and managed by Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
- next-generation "dial by email." Also known as "Uniform Resource Identifier" (URI) dialing, this feature allows users to reach any endpoint in the system by dialing a contact's email address in lieu of a traditional phone number. Cisco UC Release 9.0 is designed to support both legacy as well as future URI-based systems and will further simplify the use of video technologies such as TelePresence.
Enhanced Customer Collaboration. Cisco UC Release 9.0 contains many features that help businesses implement and manage contact center solutions. Key elements include:
- the introduction of Packaged Contact Center Enterprise, which provides an easy to install, pre-engineered, bounded, and packaged deployment model of Cisco's enterprise contact center software. Customers will be able to implement a contact-center solution more quickly and administer it more easily, helping to drive faster return on investment and lower total cost of ownership.
- Precision Routing for Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise. Precision Routing enables contact centers to drive complex call-routing decisions that better match customer desires with agent attributes and competencies, without the complexities typically found in skills-based routing solutions.
- Multiple enhancements to Cisco Unified Contact Center Express. With Cisco UC Release 9.0, Cisco adds historical reporting through Cisco Unified Intelligence to provide important metrics for managing the contact center. Cisco UC Release 9.0 also adds Web chat to Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, opening a new channel for customers to connect with a contact center. Plus, with this release, contact-center supervisors using mobile devices can perform key tasks such as managing agent skills to impact what types of calls are routed to a particular agent.
Additional features that enhance management and usability. Cisco UC Release 9.0 also supports native call queuing, so in-bound callers and groups of callers can be automatically put on hold and properly routed into a queue and given custom greetings and announcements. One Button to Record is also a new feature, allowing users to start or stop call recording directly from an endpoint. Customers can configure One Button to Record to comply with local call-recording regulations (e.g., to notify all parties that call recording is in progress).
- Licensing improvements. In Cisco UC Release 9.0, Cisco introduces user-centric licensing throughout its entire collaboration portfolio. Now, businesses can purchase licenses based on four distinct types of workers: deskless (roaming) workers, desk-bound workers, occasionally mobile workers and road warriors. Additionally, Cisco is announcing Cisco Unified Workspace Licensing Premium Edition to address the growing mobile workforce by adding mobility solutions (like Cisco Jabber Mobile) to the collaboration mix. This builds on the Cisco Unified Workspace Licensing program launched four years ago and helps businesses purchase Cisco Unified Communications software licenses simply, flexibly and economically. The solutions have become widely adopted and reached nearly 10 million users worldwide in May 2012.
Global availability of Cisco UC Release 9.0 is targeted for Q3 CY 2012. Extend and Connect, one of the many key advancements, requires both UC Release 9.0 as well as Cisco Jabber 9.1. Cisco Jabber 9.1 is scheduled to be available in Q4 CY 2012.
Nick Ciesinski, network architect, University of Wisconsin
"We've relied on Cisco Unified Communications for several years, and this latest version brings several updates that answer pressing business needs: voice traffic has increased exponentially on our network—especially during peak times when applications are due for enrollment and financial aid. Native queuing gives us a way to automate the handling of those spikes in call activity. Additionally, video is becoming increasingly important on our campuses, and URI dialing will ease the process of placing such calls. Plus the centralized license management will save time and effort."
Thomas Wyatt, vice president and general manager, Cisco
"Enterprise IT managers want to address user demands for access to collaborative technologies on a variety of devices. At the same time, resellers are looking to enable IT managers to maximize the value of existing investments while they transition to next-generation collaboration technologies. Cisco UC Release 9.0 does all of this."
- Join Cisco product leaders as they share a strategy update, announcements overview, and demonstrations of these new solutions in the Collaboration Announcements webcast on June 26 from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Cisco product experts will respond to questions in real time. Replay available at noon PT on June 26 with experts available in community forum to respond to questions.
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Cisco Unified Communications, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, IP telephony, Cisco Jabber, Cisco TelePresence, Cisco Customer Care, contact center, video, bandwidth
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-premises, 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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