Sending real-time voice and video over Internet Protocol (VoIP and Video over IP) has progressed from simply being being a shrewd means to cut phone carrier bills to being a strategic tool for competitive advantage. Unified communications, at one time limited to managing Internet-based voice and faxes on a single system to take the place of traditional PBX systems, today encompasses rich media, mobility, messaging, presence, collaboration services, and more within a single ecosystem that is easy to manage, scalable, protected, resilient, cost-effective, and user friendly.
Cisco is the leader in supplying the hardware and software infrastructure required to support the modern model of unified communications (UC). Cisco's UC product line enhances the efficiency of information systems by cutting operating costs; integrating multiple collaboration functions with familiar software programs to increase worker output; facilitating collaboration among workers, partners, and vendors to save effort and enhance business results; and simplifying the administration of your converged voice and data ecosystem.
Cisco's Unified Communications solutions include these main product areas:,
Call Control Software - Unified Communications Manager (CallManager)
The call-processing agent is the core of Cisco's IP collaboration portfolio infrastructure and provides the versatility to implement a centralized call-processing model, a decentralized model, or a combination of the two. In a centralized deployment, Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UC Manager or CUCM) extends enterprise telephony capabilities to packet devices such as IP handsets, media management appliances, Voice over IP gateways, and multimedia programs across the IT environment. Unified Communications Manager supports extra voice, video, and data functions including unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, and group-based customer communication networks.
The latest release of Unified Communications Manager, formerly named Cisco CallManager, offers a variety of improvements that expedite your return on investment by lowering management and support expenses, increasing worker output, enhancing collaboration, accommodating the bring-your-own-device model of working, elevating security, and allowing efficient use of network resources. Top innovations include Global Dial Plan Replication (GDPR), streamlined certificate control, expanded support for single sign-on for administrators and end users, hardware-agnostic call recording, mobile access without requiring VPN, a revamped self-provisioning utility that makes it easy for end users to select their options and preferences for all endpoints, and support for Transport Layer Security for mobile users.
In cases where you implement a central Unified Communications Manager cluster to control call processing for customers at remote locations, administrators can help achieve non-stop call operation using Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony, a Cisco IOS Software image for Cisco routers. If a Wide Area Network connection fails, Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony incorporated in the router offers basic Cisco Unified Communications Manager services until the connection is repaired. For information about Progent's consulting support services for Cisco ISR routers, refer to consulting and troubleshooting support services for Cisco Integrated Services routers.
For small businesses, branch offices, and retail environments that do not require the complete functionality available from Unified CM, Unified Communications Manager Express, formerly named CallManager Express offers a budget-friendly PBX alternative that handles the needs of sites with as many as 450 workers. Since Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CCX) is built into the Cisco IOS Software running on a Cisco router, smaller offices can quickly implement a converged voice/data solution.
The Cisco Business Edition 6000 is a family of all-in-one platforms that provide essential unified communications capabilities including routing, gateway, premium voice and video, messaging, instant messaging and real-time presence, conferencing, and paging services, enabling any user to connect on any endpoint device from anywhere. All Business Edition 6000 systems come packaged preinstalled with virtualization and Unified Communications applications software, making implementation fast and easy and cutting cost of ownership for companies with from 25 to 1000 workers. All BE6000 systems come packaged preinstalled with virtualization and UC applications. Organizations can simply enable Unified Communications software applications as their requirements evolve.
The office-in-a-box BE6000S includes five standard UC applications installed on one integrated router/IP gateway/virtualized E1600 M2 server platform and supports as many as 150 users and 300 endpoint devices. The medium-scale BE6000M includes 4 unified communications software application options activated on a single virtualized Cisco C220 M4 server platform and supports up to 1000 workers, 1200 devices, and 100 contact center agents. The high-end BE6000S Supports eight collaboration application options activated on a virtualized Cisco UCS C220 M4 server platform and supports as many as 1000 users, 2500 endpoint devices, and 100 contact center agents.
For additional details about Progent's expertise with Unified Communications Manager, see Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) and CallManager planning, integration, upgrades and troubleshooting.
Cisco IP Phones: VoIP and IP Media Endpoints
An IP communications endpoint is an end-user device, and can be a physical phone set or a software phone application on a PC or handheld computer. In the Internet Protocol environment, each VoIP phone has an Ethernet connection. IP phones offer all of the functions that an ordinary phone has, but VoIP phones often have extra features such as being able to connect to websites or host business software.
In contrast to ordinary PBX systems, in a Cisco IP communications network you can perform virtually instant relocations, adds, and changes. You simply move the IP handset to your new location, attach it to an Ethernet jack, and the device announces itself with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (formerly CallManager). All client permissions and settings are automatically re-established, doing away with the cost and delay of dispatching technicians to wiring closets. Another efficient capability is location independence, which allows you to sign into any Cisco IP phone and receive your personal phone extension and rights.
Cisco offers a broad range of VoIP hardware endpoints. The entry-level Small Business SPA 300 family are basic IP and Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications screenless or monochrome devices that feature wide-band audio, support for hosted Internet Protocol telephony environments or an IP private branch exchange, easy deployment and safe remote installation, transparent software upgrades, and web-based set up. The low-end SPA301 is a one-line VoIP endpoint with no display or speakerphone function, a base dialer with one Ethernet connector, and a wired handset with no a keypad. The SPA302D, designed solely for operation with the Cisco SPA232D Multi-Line DECT Analog Telephone Adapter, is a multiline cordless DECT handset that offers 10-lines, a TFT 176 x 220 color display, and a dial pad with a speakerphone. Cisco's SPA303 is an economical three-line SIP-based IP phone with dual switched Ethernet ports, a 128x64 mono display and a speakerphone.
The SPA500 line VoIP phones are affordable devices with support for both SIP and SPCP call control protocols, two switch ports, speakerphones, built-in web servers, Power over Ethernet (PoE), and voice conferencing support. Most models have a 128 x 64 pixel monochrome screen display, The SPA501G VoIP phone supports eight lines and has eight soft buttons but no LCD display. The SPA502G IP Phone supports a single line and has no soft buttons. The SPA504G VoIP phone supports four lines and has four programmable buttons. The SPA508G VoIP phone supports eight lines and eight programmable buttons. The SPA509G IP Phone supports 12 lines and features 12 soft buttons. The SPA512G VoIP phone supports four lines, no soft buttons and supports Gigabit Ethernet. The SPA514G VoIP phone supports four lines, has programmable keys, and supports 10/100/1000 Ethernet. The top-of-the-line SPA525G2 VoIP phone has a 320 x 240 color screen, supports five lines, and features five soft buttons.
Cisco's Unified IP Phones 3900 Series and 6900 Series are specialty VoIP endpoints intended for occasional-use settings such as lobbies, hallways, and conference facilities. The Unified SIP Phone 3905 features VoIP phone features a 128 x 32 pixel monochrome non-backlit display, a Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, and PoE. The simple Cisco Unified IP Phone 6901 is a single-line device with no display and uses a hook switch for call transfer or conferencing.
Cisco's 7800 line of budget-priced IP phones are VoIP desktop devices featuring backlit monochrome displays, four programmable buttons, 11 fixed-feature buttons, an integral Ethernet switch with Power over Ethernet (PoE), and an integral speakerphone. Cisco's 7800 Series IP Phones support only the SIP signaling protocol. All devices in the 7800 Series feature the same high-fidelity speakers and microphones as Cisco's 8800 Series IP phones to deliver a best-in-class audio solution. Cisco's EnergyWise power-save technology, available on the higher end 7800 units, reduces after-hours energy consumption by up to 60 percent. The Cisco IP Phone 7811 is a one-line VoIP phone designed for shared locations as well as for employees with infrequent voice communications requirements. The IP 7811 comes with a 3.28-inch 384 x 106 display and a narrow-band speakerphone. Wideband audio is offered via an extra-cost wideband handset. Cisco's IP Phone 7821 is a two-line endpoint with a 396 x 162 screen. The IP Phone 7841 is a four-line VoIP endpoint with a 396 x 162 display and is the only model in the 7800 line to support Gigabit Ethernet. The high-end IP Phone 7861 VoIP phone is a 16-line device targeted for administrators, call center agents, and supervisors who have heavy call requirements.
Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series are SIP and SCCP media devices with a 320 x 240 color display, an integral Gigabit Ethernet switch, Class 3 Power over Ethernet, 10 fixed-feature keys and a speakerphone. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7945G is a two-line unit and the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965G features four lines. Both IP phones include a 5-inch screen and four soft keys. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975G device is an eight-line IP voice and video phone featuring a 5.6-inch touch screen and five programmable buttons.
Cisco's IP Phone 8800 Series is a family of SIP-only IP phones that includes desktop devices, a conference IP phone, and mobile wireless IP Phones. The desktop units are five-line IP phones featuring a 5-inch 800 x 480 screen, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, four programmable keys and 12 fixed-feature keys. The Cisco IP Phone 8811 features a backlit mono screen and supports Class 2 Power over Ethernet. The Cisco IP Phone 8841 has a WVGA color screen and supports Class 2 Power over Ethernet. Cisco's IP Phone 8845 features a WVGA color display, 720p HD video, a tiltable camera, Bluetooth, Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, and supports Class 2 PoE. The Cisco IP Phone 8851 has a WVGA color screen and one USB port with charging capability, supports Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice and Class 3 Power over Ethernet, and is available in Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth models. The Cisco IP Phone 8861 includes a WVGA color display, Bluetooth, two USB connections with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Class 4 Power over Ethernet. The Cisco IP Phone 8865 has a WVGA color screen, 720p HD video, an adjustable camera, Bluetooth, two USB connections with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Class 4 Power over Ethernet.
Cisco's wireless VoIP phones are industrial-grade Wi-Fi devices designed for professionals who are mobile within campus, hospitality, health-care or other venues where IT management requires portable phones that provide more administrative control, data security and ruggedness than is achievable with the BYOD mode of mobile communications. Cisco's 8821 and 8812-EX wireless IP phones provide on-the-move on-premises workers the benefits of voice over wireless LAN communications in workplaces with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. Cisco's 8821 Wireless VoIP Phone features a hi-res color screen, a rugged shell rated Mil-SPEC 810G for shock resistance and compliant with IP67 for particulate and splash resistance, long-life batteries, a full-duplex speakerphone, and an integrated Bluetooth transceiver to support wireless headsets. The 8821-EX Wireless IP Phone adds spark suppression for hazardous work sites. The 8821-EX also features a case made out of yellow plastics, which makes it easy to locate the event of a crisis. Find out about Progent's Cisco Wireless VoIP Phone integration consulting.
Cisco's discontinued 9900 Series of high-performance IP endpoints integrate high-definition voice with high-resolution color screens to deliver a rich collaborative experience for knowledge professionals, managers, and executives. Both models in the 9900 line include an SD 24-bit color display, a Bluetooth 2.0 transceiver to work with a wide range of headsets, and an integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet port. Cisco's EnergyWise feature is offered as an option and can lower off-hour energy draw by 90 percent. The IP Phone 9951 features a 5-inch display and allows up to 2 IP Expansion Modules for adding scalability to customizable line and function keys. The IP Phone 9971 features a 5.6-inch display, an integrated Wi-Fi transceiver for connecting to Voice-over-WLAN environments, and 4 customizable touchscreen keys to access Cisco Unified Communications features. The 9971 VoIP phone allows up to 3 IP Expansion Modules for adding customizable line and feature keys.
Unified Communications Applications
Within Cisco's Unified Communications architecture, IP phone, IP video, and other converged applications are isolated from the call- and voice-processing infrastructure, and they may reside anywhere within the system. A single network framework provides a versatile platform for feature-rich applications and serves as a solid foundation for downstream convergence-based applications. Cisco cooperates with leading IT industry vendors to provide a broad selection of IP telephony and video applications and products. Cisco also enables the capability to create and manage specialized in-house programs.
UC application software offered by Cisco and supported by Progent's consultants include:
Cisco Jabber is a unified communications application that supports presence, IM, voice, video, voicemail, screen sharing, and online conferencing features for Windows PCs, Apple Macs, iPads and Android tablets as well as smartphones. Jabber is an evolution and integration of the Unified Personal Communicator soft phone application, Cisco Mobile, and Cisco WebEx Connect, with important improvements in the areas of HD video features and desktop screen sharing, and expanding the collaboration experience to more platforms and devices. Cisco Jabber works in conjunction with Cisco Unified CM for call and session control, Cisco Unified Presence for instant messaging and presence, Unity Connection for voice messaging and programmable attendant, and Cisco WebEx Meeting for conferencing and online meetings.
Since Cisco Jabber is based on key communication standards, it can interoperate with a broad range of non-Cisco products. For instance, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol allows Jabber users to exchange instant messaging and presence data with a variety of XMPP clients such as Adium for Mac, IBM Sametime, and Microsoft Lync. Cisco Jabber collaboration features are available from Microsoft Office programs including Outlook and SharePoint. This extensive platform compatibility optimizes productivity by delivering a consistent end-user environment and fully enabling the BYOD paradigm of networking. Progent offers the services of Microsoft-certified Exchange and Outlook consultants and SharePoint programmers who can show you how to use Jabber with Microsoft's popular collaboration platforms. Progent also offers expertise with iPhone integration as well as Android smartphone and tablet integration to assist your organization to enhance the productivity of your BYOD environment.
WebEX Meeting Center
WebEX Meeting Center provides online conferencing for participants using a web browser or virtually any desktop or handheld device. WebEx Meeting Center is offered as software as a service (SaaS) via the Cisco WebEx Cloud. This makes it easy to deploy and scale, streamlines administration, avoids heavy initial investment, offers high availability and world-class data protection, and delivers consistently high performance. Important capabilities include support for sharing discrete content or an whole screen display with remote participants in real time, the capability to incorporate rich media into presentations including PowerPoint and Flash videos, network-based recording plus playback for future reference and training, single sign-on (SSO) and support for Cisco collaboration applications such as Cisco Jabber and Cisco TelePresence, plus strong data privacy and encrypted access with tight policy control.
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops and allows mobile workers to launch, calendarize, and take part in conferences on Google Android devices, Apple iPhones and iPads, BlackBerry handhelds, and Microsoft Windows Phone. Users can also launch web conferences instantly from Microsoft Office, Outlook, Lotus Notes, and a selection of IM applications.
Cisco TelePresence Portfolio for In-house Video Conferencing Environments
For midsize organizations and larger enterprises who wish to create an on-premises or hybrid on-premises/cloud environment for teleconferencing, Cisco offers a portfolio of Cisco TelePresence products that deliver high-quality video conferencing for users with virtually any IP endpoint at any site. Cisco TelePresence Server is a scalable video conferencing bridge that runs in conjunction with Cisco Unified CM to bring multiparty video, audio and content sharing to unified communications deployments and can extend meetings to support cloud-connected Cisco WebEx Meeting Center users. Cisco TelePresence Conductor software simplifies management of how teleconferencing bandwidth and features are allotted for each attendee, allowing managers to define the exact service level and user experience needed for each user. Cisco TelePresence Content Server collects video and presentations for live streaming and on-demand viewing.
Cisco's Unity Connection Platform and Unity Express for Unified Voicemail and Automated Attendant
Cisco's Unity Connection, an extension of Unified CM, is a converged voicemail system that facilitates collaboration by offering flexible set of options for retrieving voice messages within a framework that is simple to deploy and administer. Unity Connection allows you to read and manage voicemail from your email inbox, web browser, Cisco Jabber, a Cisco Unified IP endpoint, a smartphone, or a tablet. Unity Connection also offers advanced voice-recognition capabilities for hands-free operation and powerful Automated Attendant capabilities that include intelligent routing for inbound phone calls and custom call-filtering and message-alert options. The Cisco Unity Connection system operates as a VM that can reside on a Business Edition 6000 server or a Cisco Services Ready Engine 910 router blade and can support as many as 20,000 voice mailboxes per server.
Unity Express (CUE), available in certain Cisco Integrated Services routers, provides cost-effective voicemail, integrated messaging, interactive voice response, and greeting services for small to medium businesses (SMBs) and corporate satellite locations with up to 500 workers. Cisco Unity Express permits users to access and manage voicemail using a Cisco IP Phone screen, a browser, or your email system. Integrated Services Routers for which Unity Express is offered as an advanced integration module include Cisco's 2800, 2900, 3800, and 3900 families. Progent can provide comprehensive configuration and troubleshooting services for Integrated Services Routers.
Unified Contact Center
Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) integrates with Cisco Unified CM and agent desktop apps like Finesse to provide automatic call distribution features that allow an organization to connect customers with the proper salesperson or service representative. Unified CCE or UCCE provides smart call distribution, computer telephony integration, multichannel contact management, call queuing, interactive voice response and consolidated enterprise-wide reporting to streamline the creation and management of a large-scale contact center. Cisco platforms supporting UCCE's customer contact management solution include Unified IP Phones, Voice, and Cisco network infrastructure.
Unified Contact Center Express (CCX) provides an out-of-the-box solution for building a customer contact center for mid-scale systems that handle as many as 400 agents. Multiple bundles are offered, as well as a variety of optional advanced features. Unified CCX integrates with Unified CM and provides intelligent call distribution, contact interaction management, reporting, interactive voice response, and management of voice, email, chat, and social media requests. Unified CCX comes with Finesse, a browser-based desktop agent that needs no client installation. Optional enhancements include conditional routing, estimated-wait-time messages, and quality management.
Cisco Mobile Connect for Single Number Reach
Mobile Connect, commonly referred to as Single Number Reach, makes it possible for users to be reached from a single number that rings simultaneously on their desktop VoIP Phone and their smartphone. Users can switch live conversations between their Cisco IP phone and their smartphone without disruption. Calls that are not answered can be transferred to a Unity or Cisco Unity Connection voicemail account. Users can create personal access lists that specify which calls get directed to alternate phones.
Cisco Prime Collaboration provides an automated process for first-time deployments as well as for follow-on moves, adds, changes, and deletions. An intuitive interface provides a unified view of a subscriber and the subscriber's services. Prime Collaboration significantly accelerates site installations and reduces the time needed for future updates. Prime Collaboration in addition provides management analytics that show technology adoption and consumption rates, allowing organizations to make more efficient use of resources and further reduce total cost of ownership.
Cisco Communications Gateways
Cisco's communications gateways permit Cisco converged communications environments to communicate with other networks and with clients operating outside the firewall. Cisco's portfolio of communication gateways provide unified communications services for a wide variety of gateway as well as session-border-control applications.
Collaboration gateways offered by Cisco and supported by Progent's certified consultants include:
Cisco Expressway Communication Gateway
Cisco's Expressway is an advanced collaboration gatekeeper that allows companies to provide employees, suppliers, consumers, or business partners who are using different networks, workgroup applications, or endpoint devices to connect to Cisco Unified Communication features. The Expressway collaboration gateway integrates with a Cisco CM system or Cisco Business Edition, or can be run via the cloud with Cisco HCS to help make collaboration more universal. Key features of Cisco Expressway include:
Cisco's End-of-Life UC520, UC540 and UC560 VoIP Phone Systems
The legacy Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series is an all-in-one VoIP gateway solution for small organizations. UC500 models provide voice, data, voicemail, auto attendant, IP video, firewall, and WiFi functionality, work with older generation Cisco VoIP phones, and support public switched telephone network connections.
All of Cisco's UC500 series bundles include a compact switch appliance with 8 PoE interfaces plus additional FXS and foreign exchange office (FXO) ports, a firewall, and VPN support. Integrated WiFi is an option. VoIP user capacity can be increased by connecting with Cisco Catalyst Express companion switches. Each UC500 offering also comes with licenses for Cisco Unified Communications Manager for VoIP call processing as well as Cisco Unity Express for voice messaging and automated attendant. The Cisco UC520 package supports 8 to 16 users and incorporate 4 foreign exchange stations and 4 FXO interfaces. The Cisco UC540 system supports 32 users and provides 8 foreign exchange office ports. The Cisco UC560 system allows 48 users and 12 FXO interfaces.
Progent's Cisco-certified VoIP consultants can assist you to support your legacy UC500 VoIP gateway or design and implement an efficient upgrade to a current IP telephony and voicemail system like the Cisco Business Edition 4000.
How Progent Can Help You with Cisco IP Voice and IP Media Phones, CUCM, and Telepresence
Progent offers online or onsite help from a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Collaboration specialist to help your business to plan, implement, manage and troubleshoot converged communications environments built on Cisco Unified Communication technology in an in-house, distributed, or hybrid deployment. Progent's Cisco-certified engineers have in-depth experience integrating Unified Communications Manager and CallManager, IP voice and video phones and other endpoints, Unified Communications applications such as Cisco Jabber and Unity Connection, Cisco's video conferencing technologies, collaboration gatekeepers, utilities built into Cisco Catalyst switches and routers. Progent can also provide expertise with technologies such as Cisco SRST, CUBE, H.323 and H.264 gateways, CAC, VoIP trunks, various signaling protocols, and Cisco's architecture for voice, video and integrated data. Progent's SIP infrastructure consultants can also assist you to build SIP connectivity solutions that incorporate SIP VoIP phones and media phones, SIP trunks, and SIP administration tools with Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
Progent's application programmers can create specialized IP telephony applications that will enable your business to integrate the telephony capabilities of Cisco Unified Communications Manager into your business operations for enhanced productivity. Progent can revue your current network and Internet access architecture to determine whether your environment is configured to accommodate high-quality IP voice and HD video, help you to choose and integrate Cisco hardware and software that make sense for your current situation and downstream expansion plans, and integrate your Cisco Unified Communications products with technology from other vendors. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified data security consultants can assist you to create, deploy, and validate a comprehensive security strategy for your unified communications ecosystem. Also, Progent can help your organization to deploy Cisco high-availability technologies like Cisco Unified Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) to provide cost-effective call control backup in remote-branch and teleworker sites, and Progent's disaster recovery planning consultants can help you develop a sensible DR/BC strategy to protect your vital unified communications system.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager/CallManager Migration Consulting
Releases of Cisco Unified Communications Manager 8.6 earlier than 8.6 and all versions of its predecessor CallManager have arrived at end-of-life. This means Cisco will no longer enhance, repair, or test this older software. Security patches for this pivotal application will stop, which in some circumstances may create regulatory compliance or potential liability problems.
Progent continues to offer premier support services for outdated editions of Unified Communications Manager and CallManager, but if your company is now running an out-of-dated release of this essential software your organization should start now to plan your upgrade. Progent's collaboration consultants can help your company to upgrade non-disruptively to the current version of Unified CM and can often save clients up to 50% off consulting service fees versus competing computer service firms because of Progent's documented process and hands-on experience in this area. By adhering to best practices, Progent can ensure that your business realizes a fast return on your IT investment by showing you how to take full advantage of the enhanced feature set, reduced management and maintenance expense, more engaging collaboration capabilities, and tighter security offered by the current release of Unified CM.
Progent's migration consulting services include return-on-investment analysis, project management, system testing and validation, Cloud integration, configuring collaboration endpoints from Cisco and other suppliers, mobile integration, security and compliance services, streamlined management, disaster recovery planning, network topology design, training for IT staff and end users, and ongoing consulting and troubleshooting. Progent also has put together ultra-affordable upgrade packages to make sure your costs are predictable and affordable.
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