The Cisco Collaboration Summit in Florida last week, hosted the launch of a number of new Cisco products which will make Cisco Unified Communications even more effective, simpler for employees and more secure for organisations.As companies increasingly add BYOD and Remote Working Policies it is impacting on any existing or planned collaboration strategy. Companies who have invested money in providing employees with access to video suites, audio and web conferencing tools, instant messaging and presence, are now finding that employees want to use their new iPhone 5 or iPad for work or have started working from home on a regular basis.The reasoning behind the Cisco product announcements is that any effective collaboration strategy needs to increase productivity. Employees will be more productive if they are using devices that they are comfortable using and are given the freedom to do their work when they want from where they want. The latest additions to Cisco’s collaboration portfolio are aimed to encourage collaboration by enhancing and supporting BYOD and remote working policies.
With Cisco Expressway for example, UC tools are extended beyond the office network, to mobile and home workers. With Cisco Expressway, remote access to conferencing and messaging tools will no longer need to be achieved by static VPNs, which require registrations and passwords. Instead, Expressway uses Transport Layer Security a far more seamless technology, widely used to secure e-commerce transactions. Jabber Guest plugs into Cisco Expressway and will enable companies to extend enterprise collaboration tools to trusted third parties without compromising on security or controlled access.
To address BYOD, Cisco announced the introduction of Intelligent Proximity, which will enable employees to link their mobile phones with their desk phones, giving the ability to switch calls already in progress, export contacts and call history from their mobiles onto their desk phone. The first phone able to support this new technology is the Cisco DX650 Smart Desk Phone, based on Android. Finally, to support a smooth integration between all new and old UC products, Prime Collaboration will manage “the vast majority” of Cisco collaboration products and to authorise the addition of employee-owned devices to company-based UC systems, from a single management console. There are still a few components to be added into Prime Collaboration such as include Video Communications Server (VCS), Cisco Expressway, and also some of the components within Cisco Contact Centre Solution. However, as compatibility with Cisco Prime Collaboration is now a requirement for every Cisco product that comes to market we expect that every existing application will also eventually become part of Prime Collaboration.
If these additions will prove to deliver the simplicity of use and management they promise, they will certainly create a fertile ground to nurture expanding Unified Communications and they are likely to be warmly received by users and distributors.