Exchanging real-time voice and video over IP has evolved from simply being being a smart means to reduce phone carrier bills to being a strategic tool for productive collaboration. Unified communications, at one time restricted to managing Internet-based voice calls and faxing on the same network platform to take the place of traditional PBX equipment, today includes VoIP and video, mobile communications, instant messaging, presence, collaboration services, and much more all within a centralized environment that is manageable, extensible, protected, fault-tolerant, economical, and user friendly.
Cisco is the global leader in providing the hardware and software infrastructure required to support the new model of unified communications (UC). Cisco's unified communications solution enhances the efficiency of information networks by slashing operational expenses; integrating rich media features with popular software applications to improve worker output; supporting collaboration among workers, associates, and suppliers to save effort and enhance business outcomes; and simplifying the support of your converged voice and data environment.
Cisco's UC technology cover these main product categories:,
Call and Session Processing Agents - Unified Communications Manager (CallManager)
The call-processing agent is the centerpiece of Cisco's IP collaboration solution and gives you the flexibility to deploy a central call-processing model, a decentralized design, or a mix of both. In a centralized approach, Unified Communications Manager (UC Manager or CUCM) extends enterprise phone features to packet telephony network devices such as IP handsets, media management products, Voice over IP gateways, and multimedia applications throughout the network. Cisco Unified Communications Manager enables extra voice, video, and data services such as unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, and group-based client interaction networks.
The most recent release of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, formerly branded Cisco CallManager, offers a variety of improvements that accelerate ROI by cutting administrative and support costs, increasing worker output, facilitating collaboration, supporting the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) style of computing, strengthening data protection, and allowing optimal utilization of network resources. Headline innovations include automatic dial-plan replication and batch provisioning, simplified certificate control, extended support for standards-based single sign-on (SSO) for administrators and users, device-agnostic call recording, on-the-road access with no need for VPN, a new self-care interface that makes it simple for users to set their options for all devices, and support for Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol for mobile users.
When you implement a centralized Unified Communications Manager cluster to control call processing for users at remote locations, IT managers can help ensure continuous call operation through Cisco SRST, an IOS Software image for routers. If a WAN connection breaks, Cisco SRST incorporated in the Cisco router offers basic Cisco Unified Communications Manager services until the connection is returned. For a description of Progent's consulting support for Cisco ISR routers, refer to consulting services for Cisco Integrated Services routers.
For small businesses, branch locations, and retail deployments that do not require the full feature set available from Unified CM, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express, formerly known as CallManager Express provides a budget-friendly PBX alternative that handles the requirements of sites with as many as 450 workers. Since Unified Communications Manager Express Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CCX) is embedded in the IOS Software operating on a Cisco router, smaller organizations can rapidly set up a converged voice/data environment.
The Cisco BE6000 is a family of complete solutions that provide essential unified communications features such as routing, gateway, high definition voice and video, messaging, IM and presence, conferencing, and paging services, allowing any end user to collaborate on any device from any place. All BE6000 solutions come preconfigured with a virtualization hypervisor and collaboration applications software, making implementation quick and easy and cutting cost of ownership for companies with from 25 to 1000 workers. All versions come packaged preconfigured with a virtualization hypervisor and Unified Communications applications software. Organizations can simply activate UC applications as their requirements evolve.
The entry-level BE6000S includes five preselected collaboration applications preloaded on a single combination 2921V router/IP gateway/virtualized E1600 M2 server device and can handle a maximum capacity of 150 workers and 300 endpoint devices. The medium-scale Business Edition 6000M supports four UC software application options enabled on a virtualized C220 M4 server platform and can handle up to 1000 workers, 1200 endpoint devices, and 100 contact center agents. The high-end Business Edition 6000H Supports 8 UC software application options enabled on a virtualized Cisco UCS C220 M4 server and can handle up to 1000 workers, 2500 endpoint devices, and 100 contact center agents.
For additional information about Progent's support for Unified Communications Manager (CallManager), visit Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and CallManager planning, configuration, upgrades and troubleshooting.
IP Phones: IP Voice and IP Media Endpoints
An IP communications endpoint is a user device, and can be a hardware phone set or a soft phone application that runs on a desktop or mobile computer. In the IP environment, every IP handset or soft phone has an Ethernet connection. Voice over IP phones offer all of the capabilities that an analog phone handset has, but Voice over IP phones can also have extra functions including the ability to access the web or host business applications.
Unlike conventional PBX systems, in a Cisco IP communications network you can perform virtually instantaneous moves, adds, and modifications. You merely take the VoIP handset to your new spot, plug it into an Ethernet connection, and the phone registers itself with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (formerly CallManager). All client privileges and configurations are automatically re-established, eliminating the expense and delay of dispatching technicians to wiring closets. Another useful capability is extension mobility, which enables you to log into any Cisco VoIP device and get your own phone extension and rights.
Cisco provides a wide range of collaboration hardware endpoints. The entry-level SPA 300 family are basic IP and DECT devices that feature high-quality audio, support for hosted Internet Protocol telephony systems or an IP private branch exchange (PBX), easy deployment and safe remote provisioning, in-service software upgrades, and browser-based configuration. The low-end SPA301 is a single-line VoIP endpoint with no screen or speakerphone function, a base dialer with a single Ethernet connector, and a wired handset without a keypad. The SPA302D, intended solely for operation with the Cisco SPA232D DECT Analog Telephone Adapter, is a multiline cordless DECT handset that supports 10-lines, a TFT 176 x 220 color screen, and a keypad with a speakerphone. Cisco's SPA303 is an affordable three-line IP phone with two switched Ethernet ports, a 128x64 mono screen and a speakerphone.
The SPA500 line VoIP phones are low-cost devices with support for SIP and SPCP signaling protocols, two switch ports, speakerphones, built-in web servers, Power over Ethernet, and voice conferencing capability. Most versions have a 128 x 64 pixel mono screen display, The SPA501G IP Phone supports eight lines and has eight soft keys but no LCD display. The SPA502G has a single line and has no programmable buttons. The SPA504G VoIP phone supports four lines and has four soft buttons. The SPA508G IP Phone supports eight lines and eight programmable keys. The SPA509G IP Phone supports 12 lines and has 12 soft buttons. The SPA512G IP Phone supports four lines, no soft buttons and supports Gigabit Ethernet. The SPA514G supports four lines, has programmable buttons, and supports 10/100/1000 Ethernet. The high-end SPA525G2 includes a 320 x 240 pixel color display, supports five lines, and has five soft buttons.
Cisco's IP Phones 3900 Series and IP Phones 6900 Series are specialty VoIP endpoints intended for infrequent-use environments such as cafeterias, elevators, and conference centers. The Unified SIP Phone 3905 IP Phone features a 128 x 32 pixel mono non-backlit screen, a Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, and PoE. The bare-bones Cisco Unified IP Phone 6901 is a single-line device without a display and uses a hook switch for call transfer or joining a conference.
The 7800 line of economical IP phones are VoIP devices with backlit monochrome displays, four soft buttons, 11 dedicated buttons, an Ethernet port with Power over Ethernet (PoE), and an integral speakerphone. Cisco's 7800 Series support only the SIP call control protocol. All devices in the 7800 family feature the same high-fidelity speakers and microphones as Cisco's 8800 Series IP phones to provide a best-in-class audio solution. Cisco's EnergyWise power-save feature, offered on the advanced 7800 units, cuts off-hours energy consumption by up to 60 percent. The Cisco IP Phone 7811 is a one-line phone designed for shared areas and for employees with occasional-to-light call requirements. The IP 7811 VoIP phone comes with a 3.28-inch 384 x 106 screen and a narrow-band speakerphone. Wideband audio is offered via an extra-cost handset. Cisco's IP Phone 7821 is a dual-line endpoint with a 396 x 162 screen. The IP Phone 7841 is a four-line VoIP endpoint with a 396 x 162 screen and is the only model in the 7800 family that provides Gigabit Ethernet. The top-of-the-line IP Phone 7861 is a 16-line endpoint targeted for administrators, call center personnel, and managers who have heavy voice communications needs.
Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series are dual-protocol (SIP/SCCP) media devices with a 320 x 240 pixel color screen, an integral 1xGb Ethernet switch, Class 3 Power over Ethernet, 10 dedicated buttons and a speakerphone. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7945G is a two-line unit and the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965G includes four lines. Both IP phones include a 5-inch display and four programmable buttons. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975G device is an eight-line IP voice and video phone with a 5.6-inch touch screen and five programmable buttons.
Cisco's IP Phone 8800 Series is a line of SIP-only IP phones that includes desktop units, a conference IP phone, and wireless IP Phones. The desktop units are five-line IP phones with a 5-inch 800 x 480 display, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, four soft keys and 12 dedicated keys. Cisco's IP Phone 8811 features a backlit monochrome display and supports Class 2 Power over Ethernet. Cisco's IP Phone 8841 features a WVGA color screen and supports Class 2 Power over Ethernet. Cisco's IP Phone 8845 features a WVGA color display, 720p HD video, an adjustable camera, Bluetooth, Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, and supports Class 2 PoE. The Cisco IP Phone 8851 has a WVGA color display and a USB port with charging capability, supports Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice and Class 3 PoE, and is offered in Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth models. The Cisco IP Phone 8861 includes a WVGA color screen, Bluetooth, dual USB connections with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, Wi-Fi, and Class 4 PoE. The Cisco IP Phone 8865 has a WVGA color screen, 720p HD video, a tiltable camera, Bluetooth, two USB ports with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Class 4 PoE.
Cisco's wireless IP phones are industrial-grade Wi-Fi devices intended for workers who are on the move within office, warehouse, health-care or other venues where management wants user endpoints that provide more administrative control, data security and ruggedness than is achievable with the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) style of mobile collaboration. Cisco's 8821 and 8812-EX wireless VoIP phones offer mobile onsite users the advantages of voice over wireless LAN communications in workplaces with 802.11x Wi-Fi infrastructure. The 8821 Wireless VoIP Phone includes a 2.4 inch color display, a durable shell designed to withstand dropping and compliant with IP67 for particulate and splash resistance, extended batteries, a speakerphone, and an integrated Bluetooth radio to support cordless headsets. The 8821-EX Wireless VoIP Phone adds protection against sparking for use in potentially combustible environments. Cisco's 8821-EX also has a shell composed of yellow plastics, which makes the device easy to find in a crisis. Learn about Progent's Cisco Wireless VoIP Phone integration and troubleshooting consulting.
Cisco's legacy 9900 line of high-performance IP endpoints integrate high-quality voice with hi-res color displays to provide a productive collaborative communications solution for knowledge professionals, managers, and executives. The two models in the 9900 family incorporate an SD 24-bit color screen, a Bluetooth transceiver to work with a broad range of headsets, and an integrated 1 GE Ethernet port. Cisco's Power Save feature is optional and can cut off-work energy consumption by as much as 90 percent. The IP Phone 9951 features a 5-inch screen and allows up to 2 IP Color Key Expansion Modules for expanding programmable line and feature keys. The IP Phone 9971 features a 5.6-inch screen, an integrated Wi-Fi transceiver for connecting to Voice-over-wireless LAN (VoWLAN) networks, and 4 soft-label programmable touchscreen keys to invoke Cisco Unified Communications features. The 9971 supports up to 3 Cisco IP Expansion Modules for adding scalability to programmable line and function keys.
Cisco Unified Communications Application Software
Under Cisco's Unified Communications architecture, IP phone, video, and other UC applications are physically isolated from the call- and voice-processing mechanism, and they may reside anywhere within the system. A single connectivity infrastructure provides a versatile environment for powerful applications and serves as a solid foundation for downstream convergence-based software. Cisco works with leading IT industry companies to offer a broad range of IP phone and IP video software applications and products. Cisco also enables the capability to develop and administer customized internal applications.
Collaborative application software available from Cisco and supported by Progent include:
Cisco Jabber is a converge media client application that supports presence, instant messaging, voice, high-definition video, voicemail, screen sharing, and real-time conferencing functions for Windows PCs, Macs, tablets as well as iPhones, Android phones, and Blackberries. Cisco Jabber is a rebranding and combination of the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator soft phone, Cisco Mobile, and WebEx Connect, with significant enhancements in the areas of video features and desktop sharing, and expanding the team environment to additional platforms and devices. Cisco Jabber operates in conjunction with Unified Communications Manager for call management, Cisco Unified Presence for IM and presence, Cisco Unity Connection for voicemail and programmable attendant, and WebEX Meeting for conferencing.
Since Cisco Jabber is built around key communication standards, it can interoperate with a wide range of non-Cisco products. As an example, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) allows Jabber to exchange instant messaging and presence data with other XMPP clients such as Adium for Mac, IBM Sametime, and Microsoft Lync and Office Communications Server. Cisco Jabber capabilities are available from Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook and SharePoint. This cross-platform support optimizes output by delivering a consistent user experience and accommodating the bring-your-own-device model of networking. Progent offers the services of certified Exchange consultants and Microsoft SharePoint experts who can show you how to integrate Jabber with Microsoft's popular collaboration platforms. Progent also offers help with Apple iPhone and iPad integration and Google Android phone and tablet integration to help your organization to increase the business value of your BYOD ecosystem.
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center enables web and video meetings for users with a browser or almost any desktop or handheld device. WebEx Meeting Center is delivered as SaaS through the Cisco WebEx Cloud. This makes it simple to deploy and expand, reduces the cost of administration, avoids major initial expenditures, features maximum uptime and world-class data protection, and delivers consistently high performance. Important features include support for sharing specific content or an whole screen display with online attendees in real time, the capability to add rich media into your presentations including Microsoft PowerPoint and Flash animations, recording plus playback for training and demonstrations, single sign-on (SSO) and support for other Cisco collaboration applications like Cisco Jabber and TelePresence, plus strong data privacy and encrypted access with tight policy management.
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux-powered PCs and allows mobile workers to start, schedule, and take part in meetings on Google Android devices, iPhones and iPads, BlackBerry phones, and Microsoft Windows Phone. Users can also initiate web meetings with a few clicks from Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, and a selection of IM solutions.
Cisco TelePresence Portfolio for In-house Video Conferencing Ecosystems
For medium-size businesses and larger enterprises who want to build an in-house or hybrid in-house/cloud environment for teleconferencing, Cisco provides a selection of Cisco TelePresence products that enable high-quality and standards-based video conferencing for users with almost any IP endpoint at any site. Cisco TelePresence Server is an expandable video conferencing bridge that runs with Cisco Unified CM to bring multiparty telepresence to converged deployments and can extend meetings to include cloud-based Cisco WebEx Meeting Center users. Cisco TelePresence Conductor software streamlines the control of how conferencing resources are rationed for each participant, allowing managers to specify the exact service level and experience required for every user. Cisco TelePresence Content Server collects video and presentations for real-time streaming and video on demand (VOD) playback.
Cisco's Unity Connection and Unity Express for Unified Voice Messaging
The Cisco Unity Connection, an integrated extension of Unified Communications Manager, is a unified voicemail platform that accelerates teamwork by providing flexible set of options for retrieving voice messages within a framework that is simple to deploy and maintain. Cisco Unity Connection lets you access and manage your voice messages from your Exchange inbox, browser, Cisco Jabber, a Cisco Unified VoIP Phone, an iPhone or other smartphone, or an iPad or tablet. Unity Connection also offers sophisticated voice-recognition capabilities for hands-free operation and extensive Automated Attendant features such as intelligent routing for inbound calls and custom call-filtering and message-notification settings. The Unity Connection platform operates as a virtual machine that can be hosted on a BE6000 server or a Cisco Services Ready Engine 910 router service module and can support up to 20,000 mailboxes per server.
Unity Express (CUE), available in select Cisco Integrated Services routers, offers affordable voicemail, unified messaging, interactive voice response (IVR), and greeting services for small to medium businesses and enterprise satellite offices with up to 500 users. Unity Express allows you to manage voicemail messages via a Cisco IP Phone display, a browser, or your email system. ISR Routers for which Unity Express is available as a network module or advanced integration module include Cisco's 1861, 2900, 3800, and 3900 Series. Progent can provide certified configuration and support services for all Cisco routers.
Cisco Unified Contact Center
Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Unified CCE or UCCE) integrates with Cisco Unified CM and desktop agent apps such as Cisco Finesse to provide automatic call distribution capabilities that allow an organization to match customers with the right salesperson or service representative. Unified CCE offers intelligent call distribution, computer telephony integration, multiple channel contact management, network-wide call queuing, interactive voice response (IVR) and consolidated company-wide reporting to streamline the creation and administration of a large-scale contact center. Cisco products incorporated in UCCE's client interaction management ecosystem include Cisco Unified IP Phones, Voice, and Cisco network infrastructure.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX or CCX) provides a packaged bundle for creating a customer interaction management center for mid-scale systems that handle as many as 400 agents. Several packages are available, as well as a variety of optional enhancements. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express integrates closely with Cisco Unified Communications Manager and provides smart call routing, contact interaction management, reporting, interactive voice response, and the ability to manage voice, email, web chat, and social media requests. Unified Contact Center Express comes with Cisco Finesse, a browser-based customizable desktop agent that requires no client software setup. Special options include conditional routing, estimated-wait-time announcements, and workforce and quality management.
Cisco Mobile Connect for Single Number Reach (SNR)
Mobile Connect, popularly known as Single Number Reach, makes it possible for users to be reached via one phone number that rings simultaneously on their Cisco IP Phone and their mobile phone. Users can switch active calls between their desktop VoIP phone and their smartphone seamlessly. Calls that are not answered can be redirected to a Cisco Unity or Cisco Unity Connection account. Users can create personal access lists that determine which calls get directed to alternate phones.
Cisco Prime Collaboration
Prime Collaboration Provisioning offers an automated process for first-time deployments as well as for “day 2” moves, additions, changes, and deletions. A user-friendly console delivers a single view of a user and the user's services. Cisco Prime Collaboration significantly speeds up site installations and reduces the time required to implement ongoing updates. Prime Collaboration in addition provides advanced analytics that show technology adoption and usage rates, allowing organizations to optimize resources and further lower TCO.
Cisco Collaboration Gateways
Cisco's communications gateways allow Cisco Unified Communications networks to communicate with other networks and with users working beyond the corporate firewall. Cisco's portfolio of gateways provide UC services for a wide variety of gateway as well as session-border-control deployments.
Collaboration gateways offered by Cisco and supported by Progent include:
Cisco Expressway Collaboration Gateway
Cisco's Expressway is an advanced unified communications and collaboration gatekeeper that allows companies to allow employees, suppliers, customers, or partners who are working on different network environments, collaboration platforms, or endpoint equipment to access to Cisco Unified Communication services. The Expressway works with an enterprise Cisco CM deployment or Cisco Business Edition, or can be run through the cloud with Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) to make collaboration more pervasive. Important capabilities of Cisco Expressway include:
Cisco's End-of-Life UC520, UC540 and UC560 VoIP Gateways
The legacy Cisco Unified Communications 500 (UC500) Series is an all-in-one VoIP and unified communications solution for small businesses. UC500 packages deliver voice, data, voicemail, auto attendant, video, security, and WiFi functionality, run with older Cisco VoIP endpoints, and support public switched telephone network connections.
All of Cisco's UC500 series bundles include a compact switch appliance with 8 PoE ports plus additional FXS and FXO ports, a firewall, and VPN support. Integrated WiFi is an option. VoIP user capacity can be increased by connecting with Cisco Catalyst Express switches. Every UC500 offering also comes with licenses for Cisco Unified Communications Manager for VoIP call processing and Cisco Unity Express software for voice messaging and automated attendant. The Cisco UC520 system supports 8 to 16 VoIP users and incorporate 4 FXS and 4 FXO ports. The Cisco UC540 package supports 32 users and provides 8 FXO interfaces. The Cisco UC560 package supports 48 users and 12 foreign exchange office ports.
Progent's Cisco-certified VoIP consultants can assist you to maintain your legacy UC500 VoIP gateway or plan and carry out an efficient migration to a current IP telephony and voicemail solution such as the Cisco cloud-managed Business Edition 4000.
How Progent Can Help You with Cisco IP Voice and IP Media Phones, Cisco Unified CM, and Telepresence
Progent offers online or on-premises access to a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Collaboration expert to assist your business to design, install, manage and troubleshoot unified communications environments based on Cisco Unified Communication technology in an in-house, distributed, or hybrid deployment. Progent's Cisco consultants have extensive experience with Unified Communications Manager and Cisco CallManager, VoIP phones and soft phones, Unified Communications applications such as Cisco Jabber and Unity Connection, Cisco's immersive telepresence technologies, communication gateways, utilities built into Cisco Catalyst switches and routers. Progent can also offer expertise with technologies like Cisco SRST, CUBE, SIP gateways, Call Admission Control, IP voice trunks, various signaling protocols, and AVVID. Progent's SIP integration consultants can also help you to build SIP infrastructure environments that include SIP-based VoIP phones and media endpoints, SIP trunks, SIP conferencing and SIP management tools via CUCM.
Progent's application developers can build specialized unified communications applications that will help your organization to incorporate the capabilities of Cisco Unified Communications Manager into your business operations for increased efficiency. Progent can analyze your current network and Internet connectivity infrastructure to make sure your system is configured to support high-quality IP voice and HD video, help you to select and install Cisco products that make sense for your current situation and future expansion plans, and interface your Cisco Unified Communications products with products from other suppliers. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified data security consultants can assist you to create, deploy, and test a comprehensive security and compliance plan for your converged communications ecosystem. In addition, Progent can assist your organization to deploy Cisco fault-tolerant mechanisms like Cisco Unified Survivable Remote Site Telephony to provide cost-effective call control redundancy in remote-branch and telecommuter environments, and Progent's disaster recovery preparedness consultants can help you create a sensible DR/BC plan to ensure the availability of your crucial unified communications system.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager/CallManager Migration Services
Versions of Unified CM earlier than 8.6 and every version of its predecessor CallManager have reached end-of-life. This means Cisco Engineering will no longer develop, repair, or validate this older software. Security patches for this pivotal application will stop, which in certain circumstances could create regulatory compliance or legal liability problems.
Progent will continue to provide world-class consulting and troubleshooting support for outdated releases of Cisco Unified CM and CallManager, but in case your company is still running a legacy edition of this critical software your organization should begin now to plan your migration. Progent's Cisco-certified consulting professionals can help your company to migrate smoothly to the current version of Cisco Unified CM and can typically save customers up to 50% off consulting costs versus competing IT service companies because of Progent's documented process and hands-on experience in this practice area. By following best practices, Progent can make sure your business gets a fast payback on your investment by helping you take full advantage of the new and improved features, lower management and support costs, more productive collaboration, and tighter data protection provided by the latest edition of Cisco Unified CM.
Progent's upgrade services include return-on-investment analysis, project management, system testing, Cloud integration, setting up endpoint devices from Cisco and third-party vendors, mobile integration, data protection services, streamlined management, disaster recovery planning, network topology design, training, and continuing consulting and troubleshooting. Progent also offers fixed-priced upgrade packages to keep your costs predictable and under control.
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