CUPC 8.5: a review

It’s time to make a review of Cisco Unified Personal Communicator v8.5, before my presence server demo license expires…

This is a very complete UC client with multi-directory integrated contact, rich presence and can perform instant messaging, voice and video communications. You can also initiate web meetings, access voice mail and integrate with your (Microsoft) mail client and applications.

Before you can install and start using it, know that you need the following servers (the first two are mandatory for user access and functionality):
> Cisco Unified Communications Manager – user, voice and video call control;
> Cisco Unified Presence Server – presence, IM, federation, and contact integration;
> Cisco Unified MeetingPlace (or maybe Webex) – Web Conferencing;
> Cisco Unified Videoconferencing – for multi-point voice and video;
> Cisco Unity Unified Messaging – for complete voice messaging;
(you can use Microsoft Exchange UM for voice-mail handling).

The CUPC v8.5.1 is a Windows client (Mac OSx is only on V7.0.2) but it can run on XP/Vista and 7 on both 32 and 64 bit version.
Just like CUCIlync, configuring in CUCM server is rather easy since is also CUCSF phone associated with a userid, but you provide all necessary client settings from the CUPS server, so the user only has to enter is user id (configured on CUCM), password and server address.

The interface is very friendly and self learn-paced. On the main screen you can organize your contacts, manually add or search the directory by name / phone number. The administrator will centrally define search directories (LDAP/AD compliant) and configure federation with other systems domains (CUPS, OCS/Lync or XMPP), so you can even add and exchange presence and IM with outside users (and even compliant voice and video).

Communicating is context sensitive: Search, locate and click on a contact and choose the desired communication that is available and wait for the other side to answer.

<<>>

You can escalate between conversations, from an IM you can initiate a voice call add or stop video. The IM is a separate window from the voice/video and I believe its because you can join a multiparty IM conversation (using CUPS), but you need an MCU (using CUCM) to make voice/video conferencing. I don’t have Meetingplace or an hardware MCU, but I can confirm that 720p is supported on peer-to-peer call.

A very interesting part comes now. CUPC (more specifically CUCSF) integrates with Browsers and Microsoft Office. We can right click on a phone number and initiate a call. But in Outlook 2010 we experience presence integration and initiate IM and voice calls directly on your email contacts. If I only show you this message picture you might think that you were look at a Microsoft MOC integration… But if I change the presence status on a contact it imediate update on Outlook. And if you integrate CUPS with exchange with can update your status based on your calendar.
Off course there’s a lot of subtle differences from Microsoft Lync, but we will discuss that on a different other post

There’s some other features that I couldn’t test, like group chat, offline messaging and web conferencing, but this will give you an idea of CUPC v8.5. Remember that this is a version for Windows and you will not find it the exact features on other platforms… let’s wait for Cisco Jabber.

My Opinion: Good

This is why Cisco and Microsoft are leader and close competitors on the UC market. The end user experience and communications choices are just right.
If you already have an Cisco UC infrastructure you should prioritize your investment in the CUPC. The feedback from the user will support your investments in future needs.
If you don’t have and are planning for a UC solution, Cisco should be on your list for evaluation.

Conclusion: It’s good… but still not enough 😉

Update june 3rd: The new version (Jabber) is now available and reviewed.

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6 thoughts on “CUPC 8.5: a review

  1. Bil Manderson 18/04/2011 / 17:15

    Just wondering, within presence, can you see hotmail clients,..Without having to have a OCS server. have you tried this.

    • LuisR 18/04/2011 / 17:41

      I’m not quite sure if I understood completely your question Bil,
      but I will complete this post including a reference Outlook client integration that has the same look and feel has you have installed and OCS/Lync server and client.

  2. JohnB 22/04/2011 / 16:44

    Hi Luis. We have the precise environment you laid out here. But Outlook 2010 is not indicating presence, however, Outlook 2007 is. You should also know that our Exchange environment comes from a service provider called USA.net. We sucecssfully got CUPC integrated and are getting both telephone and calendar presence, but Outlook is not showing any presence. Any ideas whay this might be the case?

    • LuisR 24/04/2011 / 22:25

      Hi John,
      First, I would like to explain you and all future participants that the comments are moderated, because I received a lot of spam with malicious links. Just give me a couple of days and all of you we’ll have an answer.

      Regarding your question, with your type of environment, Outlook will need some more clues to find user’s CUP sip address. If not present try to add on each user’s Active Directory field ‘ProxyAddress’ the value in the format .
      Let me know if this was helpful, so we can help others UC tech guys 😉

  3. Timothy Botanga 16/07/2011 / 18:39

    I like your overview however have you tried to join a conference? If its audio you have to individually invite each participant then click a button to join them in!

    Also we found that CUPC uses Cisco’s client services framework and there is a CTI tax on that. In your CUCM cluster scalability goes from 30,000 to 20,000.

    Any idea when Jabber is coming out? We are testing Lync and Cisco at the moment. Our partner doesn’t know. In terms of simple usability our employees prefer Lync.

    • LuisR 17/07/2011 / 11:05

      Jabber will slowly be introduced on the market. The OSX version will be the first (Q3 2011 – Presence+IM+Voice+Video+Visual voicemail+desktop sharing+web conferencing, Q1 2011 Precision Video Engine+Telepresence Interop+Outlook integration), and the other platforms will receive common version later…
      The service framework will be a common piece on Cisco software solutions… and they should really reconsider that.
      The user experience is good but, as you notice there are some features that really need to be changed… especially when you are comparing with Microsoft UC products

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