Cisco announce that Cisco UC Integration™ for Microsoft Lync 8.5.1 is now orderable and available for first customer shipment.
For those not familiar with this product, it’s a softphone version that runs ‘attached’ (as a plug-in) to Lync client. It allows you to make and receive phone and video calls with Cisco Unified Communications Manager, while you still use Lync client to check presence and exchange Instant Messages. The previous releases were called CUCIMOC (v7.x and v8.0).
I don’t personally support this approach, because it’s a rather confusing experience to the end-user, and especially difficult to maintain for both voice, server and desktop support teams. But… if you already have a Cisco IP telephony and video (with MCU) in place, I would recommend to make a pilot and evaluate some of the benefits of this integration ;).
Check this video to see how you can use it to make phone calls, conference calls, meetings, and voice messages (using Cisco Unity Connection server).
Cisco also released the new version of his UC client. Cisco Unified Personal Communicator 8.5 looks a serious Lync competition. I start working with Cisco one year before OCS, but when I finally got my hands and manage to successfully install v7 of CUPS (presence server) and CUPC, I realized why Cisco was one of the UC market leaders, especially with the v8.
The interface is appealing and easy to use, the context menus and options are on the right place. Contact pictures can be retrieve from a central location, including Active Directory (this was available since earlier versions!). Sadly enough, In a virtualized desktop environment, full audio and video capabilities are only available on CUPC when you are using the desk phone for phone calls. If you are using the phone on your computer, only the voicemail features are supported.
Some interesting new features (most we already have on OCS/Lync):
- Ability to escalate directly to Cisco WebEx Meetings;
- Office 2010 Contact Card integration for Presence light-up and Click to Communicate capabilities;
- Windows 7 and Office 64 bits support;
- Click to communicate <im:uri> support (tel:uri was possible on v8.0);
- Search for contacts by number;
- Administrator have the ability to enable/disable IM and presence status capabilities.
- Group chat and persistent chat rooms;
- Offline instant messaging;
- Wideband audio codec’s for higher fidelity audio;
- VGA and 720p high definition video resolutions;
- Support for deskphone control of the latest Cisco Unified IP Phone models;
- Video on the PC while in deskphone control mode;
- Ability to initiate & add participants to multiparty audio/video conference calls.
You can check the release notes for these a other details.
Comments are welcomed,