Networking giant Cisco has unveiled new systems within its unified communications (UC) and TelePresence portfolios.
Enhancements to the UC system include mobile access, improved video collaboration, and extended interoperability across applications and devices such as Cisco WebEx Connect, Cisco TelePresence, Microsoft Office Communicator and the iPhone. New additions to Cisco's range of TelePresence conferencing equipment, meanwhile, are aimed specifically at the small and medium sized enterprise market.
The advanced UC platform builds on Cisco's collaboration portfolio announcement in September, and comprises UC, telepresence and Web 2.0 applications built on an open architecture that aims to let people to collaborate in any workspace. Enhancements include desktop integration, the use of soft phones with mid-call control features, messaging, conferencing, desk phone control and phone presence.
Cisco Mobile Supervisor for the Apple iPhone will give contact centre supervisors real-time reports, notices and performance metrics on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and offers one-button launch of WebEx Meeting Centre or Training Centre from Cisco Unified IP Phones.
"Cisco is delivering a differentiated architectural approach to UC and collaboration that allows customers to integrate and interoperate with Cisco solutions, home-grown business applications and third-party products," said Laurent Philonenko, vice president and general manager of Cisco's UC business unit.
"By delivering an 'any-to-any' platform, Cisco gives customers flexibility in how they transform communication and collaboration in any workspace, whether that workspace is a mobile device, contact centre environment, desktop client or Cisco Unified IP Phone."
The new Cisco TelePresence system is designed for multipurpose rooms and applications, and will make immersive video collaboration accessible by a wider range of organisations, according to the company.
Full-scale telepresence has been a costly technology to implement, and required a high-bandwidth connection and a specifically designed room at each location. Cisco hopes that its Cisco TelePresence System 1300 Series, which is designed to operate within any conference room on a normal internet connection, will make it a viable option for smaller businesses.
The company also took the wraps off Cisco TelePresence Recording Studio, a new application that uses the TelePresence system to create high-definition recordings for secure distribution and playback on any Cisco TelePresence system or internet connected device.
"Cisco is reinventing how users can experience Cisco TelePresence, and how companies can change the way they do business by collaborating in an entirely new way," said Charles Stucki, vice president and general manager of the TelePresence Systems Business Unit at Cisco.
"From in-person meetings with seamless interoperability, to high-quality broadcast recording and sophisticated events, this next wave of collaborative applications substantially expands what Cisco TelePresence can enable, making it even more useful and flexible for everyone in every company."
Cisco TelePresence can now handle video from any high-definition videoconferencing system, as well as standard definition video conferencing, helping branch offices, partners and customers to be included in sessions despite not actually having a telepresence system, the firm said.
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