At its Cisco Partner Summit 2007 in Las Vegas yesterday, Cisco Systems announced "the next major evolution of its small and medium-sized business strategy." The multipart solutiondubbed Smart Business Communications Systemaims to "maximize business efficiency and improve customer and employee collaboration," according to the company.
CEO John Chambers put the move into historical perspective: "Three years ago [our partners and customers] asked us to transform our SMB strategy in order to better address their specialized needs. Today, we are the network leader in the SMB market," he said.
Accompanying the launch of Smart Business Communications System, was the announcement of Select Certification, an entry-level certification for SMB-focused channel partners.
At the heart of Cisco's SBCS is a new unified communications platform, the UC 500 series, built on the company's Unified Communications Manager Express. In addition to support for Cisco IP phones (including the Cisco IP Communicator softphone), the platform facilitates communication via instant messaging and 'single-number reach,' in addition to providing Internet connectivity with firewall protection plus VPN and wireless LAN capabilities.
Optional components include
- Cisco Catalyst express 520 switch, which securely expands the system's IP phone and wireless LAN access point capacity
- Cisco Mobility Express Solutionaccess points and centralized controller for dynamically optimized wireless LAN coverage
- Cisco Configuration Assistant; a highly automated system setup and management tool.
Cisco partner IPcelerate, Inc. provides software tools for integration of communications with desktop applications and back-office systems. The IPsmartSuite solution consists of application bundles packaged to meet the business-process needs of specific types of small firms, including healthcare, legal, retail, and small manufacturing operations.