New Cisco Tools Bring Wireless Devices Into Office Net

Cisco Systems is now offering customers an upgraded version of its software and network equipment that links desktop computers to cell phones and other mobile devices.

The new wireless client software extends desk phone functions to a variety of smartphones and handheld devices, and supports BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems, according to Cisco.

The Silicon Valley heavyweight announced the new product, Unified Communications 6.0, at VoiceCon Spring 2007 in Orlando, Fla.

Growing Demand for Single Communications

The upgrade is part of Cisco’s ongoing effort to meet growing demand for single communication systems that are capable of offering mobile workers more connectivity options.

“The business case for unified communications centers is on improving employee productivity and collaboration options, while driving down some of the cost of maintaining multiple communication applications and infrastructures,” said Abner Germanow, director of enterprise networking research at IDC.

The upgraded system now integrates wired, wireless and mobile devices to create secure solutions for businesses, Cisco said. The client allows users to make calls and send instant messages from cell phones just as they would using their office phones or computers.

Improving Productivity

This new release introduces capabilities that will dramatically improve the productivity of mobile employees and cost-effectively deliver unified communications to small and medium-sized businesses, noted Paul Fulton, senior director of business mobility at Cisco.

“It is about efficiency and collaboration in [developing] our products,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The upgrade also extends new collaboration features and third-party application integration across the portfolio, Fulton pointed out.

The system integrates wired, wireless and mobile devices to create a secure solution for the entire organization, regardless of a worker’s location, he said.

Small and Mid-Sized Business

The move expands Cisco’s traditional product line of routers and switches to feature easy installation. New software packaging is designed to grab the attention of the small and mid-size businesses the company is targeting with the new products.

Unified Communications 6.0 integrates smoothly with existing business desktop tools for plug-and play functionality that simplifies deployment, lowers training costs and reduces capital and operating expenses, according to Fulton.

Expanding Range

The expansion into this broader range of products is likely a signal that Cisco is ready to compete head-to-head with the likes of Microsoft.

“As the integration between unified communications components improves, said Germanow, the need for IT to request additional funds to pay for incremental integration and servers will decline.”

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