Cisco Enhance Unified Communications System for SMEs

Cisco has announced enhancements to their Unified Communications suite of voice, data and video products specifically intended for small and medium-sized businesses.

A new enhancement is the Cisco Unified CallConnector, which works in conjunction with Cisco Unified CallManager Express and common business applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer. This allows employees to dial contacts directly from applications by clicking on a number, therefore removing the need to manually enter numbers in their phone, streamlining business processes and, over time, increasing productivity. The system also displays the contact details of incoming calls allowing users to answer or re-direct them. Furthermore, the new Quick Messaging tool enables short message communications with fellow employees.

New ‘presence’ capabilities allow employees to show their availability, location and alternative contact details to their colleagues on-line. For example, if an employee is out of the office, they can change their presence status to ‘offline’ and say where they are, allowing colleagues to contact them quickly and simply. This not only increases communications efficiency and helps users reach the right resource the first time, but also creates a more flexible and personal communication flow that users can control.
Cisco is also introducing the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7931G, a full-featured IP phone providing functions that are commonly needed in the SMB environment. With 24 lighted line keys and 4 interactive soft keys, the phone guides the user through call features and functions in a simple and effective way. The phone reduces the time required for training and ensures that any user can direct calls around the office simply and easily without specialist knowledge.

Complementing this solution is the Express Attendant Console, developed by Arc Systems, and now available as part of the Cisco Unified Communications system. Arc Express is a software-based operator console that provides a cost-effective and simple way of increasing customer service levels to inbound callers. The tool allows receptionists to search for employees by first or last name, department, extension or other user defined fields, with a view to having callers get through to the right person the first time round.

Edzard Overbeek, Vice President, Commercial, European Markets, Cisco Systems said: “With these additions to our Unified Communications system, we continue to provide more smart, simple and secure communications to SMBs, allowing them to increase operational efficiency, minimise costs and speed up responses to their customers. SMBs are increasingly taking a smart, planned approach to technology investment, in order to ensure efficient communications with instant access to information. This leads to quicker decision making, better customer service and ultimately an increased competitive edge.”

These new additions are all delivered by SMB focussed distribution partners who work with Cisco to define solutions that best suit their customers’ needs. Responding to ongoing feedback, Cisco has introduced a range of effective tools – Solution Expert, Quote Builder and Quick Configuration tool – that guide these distribution partners through the implementation process and offer flexible, customised solutions. Furthermore, they reduce the time taken to get a solution installed, with a view to allowing SMBs to start benefiting from their investment quickly and simply.

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