Cisco VoIP apps get tweaked

Cisco Systems Inc. this month announced several new voice over IP messaging software enhancements, product packages and a new IP PBX aimed at allowing enterprises to integrate legacy voicemail systems with Cisco IP telephony gear and help smaller businesses make the VoIP leap.

The Unity Bridge 2.0 enhancement to Cisco’s Unity 3.1 unified messaging server could allow IT or telecom staff to integrate an Avaya Inc. Octel voicemail system with Cisco UM gear. For sites with 50 to 200 users, Cisco also released two IP PBX packages and a new IP PBX server.

Unity Bridge 2.0 can allow up to 200,000 Octel voicemail users to integrate into the Cisco’s Unity UM platform, allowing end users to use Cisco phones to retrieve messages on Octel servers. End users can also forward voice messages among users on either Octel or Cisco Unity voicemail systems. The Unity Bridge software can also integrate Octel voicemail onto a Cisco’s UM server, allowing end users to view and retrieve voicemail from a Microsoft Outlook e-mail client.

The Media Convergence Server (MCS) 7815-1000 is Cisco’s newest Microsoft Windows 2000-based IP PBX is aimed at smaller sites with up to 200 users. The device runs CallManager software as well as other Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (AVVID) applications.

Two new IP PBX packages for shops with up to 50 attendants include the ICS 7750-AV, which has eight analogue port trucks for PSTN connections, and the ICS 7750-DV with eight digital PSTN trunks. The packages come with CallManager Unity voicemail and Cisco Auto Attendant for automated call answering and forwarding services. Analogue station interfaces for fax, modems and analogue phones are also includes.

Cisco also increased the processor speed and memory in its MCS 7825-1133 MCS 7835-1266 with support for up to 1Ghz Pentium III processors and up to 1GB of RAM.

Also introduced was the Customer Response Solution (CRS) 3.0, which combines several voice and call centre applications onto one platform. CRS 3.0 includes Cisco’s Integrated Contact Solution (IP ICS) for call routing and queuing, IP Interactive Voice Response (IP IVR) and IP Queue Manager (IP QM), which allows for more in-depth call queuing management. Other software improvements to the AVVID lineup include version 1.3 of the IP SoftPhone, with support for USB handsets and Web installation, and a new CallManager Attendant Console with improved directory search capabilities and a drag-and-drop interface for call transferring.

The Unity Bridge version 2.0, an option available with Cisco Unity 3.1, starts at US$7,000 for the software. Cisco IP SoftPhone 1.3 starts at US$105 per user or is a free upgrade from previous 1.x versions. Cisco CallManager Attendant Console application is included on Cisco CallManager software.

The following are starting prices for MCS hardware and ICS packages: MCS 7815-1000: US$8,000; MCS 7825-1133: US$12,000; MCS 7835-1266: US$19,000; ICS-7750-AV: US$16,000; ICS-7750-DV: US$19,500.

All products are available now, except for the CRS 3.0 platform starts at US$5,000 for a 10-agent license and will be available in the third quarter.