Digital Workplace

Cisco & Apple's Partnership Provides New IT Solutions


Last week, Cisco provided an overdue update on its partnership with Apple, originally announced at the end of 2015.

Cisco has provided an interesting roadmap of exciting enhancements, which are planned for the new Apple OS (iOS) 10, due for release later this year.

Core of the network

Essentially, there will be greater integration between Apple mobile devices and Cisco networks.

Rowan Trollope, Cisco Vice President for Collaboration explained in a recent blog that Cisco has optimised how the iPhone and iPad will communicate with a Cisco wireless network.

For example, when you’re at work and/or on the go, your iPhone or iPad will simply “know” what’s the best available wireless access point for you — and will select it by default. This is great news, meaning that a much better roaming experience will be achieved when using iOS devices.

However, there are few technical details yet as to whether these enhancements will improve VoIP roaming using Jabber for mobile, such as prioritising voice packets for example.

A bright Spark

The partnership is allowing Cisco to move ever closer to total collaboration with Cisco Spark. This new cloud based solution is a business messaging app, conferencing solution and phone system all in one.

Although Spark is available for both Windows and Apple devices, it’s worth noting that with Apple devices, calls will now ring on the lock screen, just like a regular call. Spark users will have access to mute and call waiting features and even more conveniently, you can now ask Siri to use Spark to call contacts in your People app.

Some of the main features available are:

  • Message: Create a space for your team to send messages, share files, and stay in contact wherever you go. When you need to meet, you’ll spend less time getting caught up, and more time getting stuff done.
  • Video: Join a video meeting from your phone or desktop, or from a conference room using the Spark Room System. The Cisco Spark app also lets you share your screen for presentation meetings.
  • Scheduling:  You can integrate Spark Hybrid services with Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange, to find your team and schedule online meetings.
  • Calling:  You can receive calls everywhere, from your Spark App, or your Cisco IP phone. Your contact list and call history is synced across all your devices.  You can also integrate your existing Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) system with Spark Hybrid Services.

Apple has made Cisco Spark, Cisco’s cloud based platform a seamless experience, with  iOS App for iOS 10.0.

There has been some really positive reviews about the Cisco Spark app download experience, and having downloaded and started to use it here at Forfusion, we are very impressed.

Looking at Cisco Spark as an end user, you will be able to make and receive voice and video calls from your mobile in the same way as you do using your mobile service provider.

For those of you who are Cisco Collaboration Engineers, you will notice the influence of Cisco here. Cisco’s ‘Extend and Connect’, already configurable on Cisco Unified Call Manager, is being rolled out into the cloud by using Cisco Spark.

The main benefits of course will be single number calling and receiving, giving a better professional presentation to your customers, and the single number reach ability regardless of your location.

Your IT departments will be able to setup your iPhone or iPad, so calls to anyone within your corporate directory are automatically made using Cisco Spark.

Cost consolidation

Costs can also be reduced by routing mobile calls through your existing telephony solution, and will of course help with any company compliance regulations.

The partnership of these two tech giants can only be good news for customers. Whether it is business customers looking to improve their systems or the end user, looking to work smarter and integrate their devices with the company systems. To seamlessly use your iOS device for communication with the Cisco portfolio will be welcomed by many.

Do you already have a Cisco Telephony solution? Are you looking to utilise more of the features available within the platform? If you will like to discuss any features or business requirements regarding VoIP, one of our Cisco certified professionals would be love to talk with you. Please fill out the below form.

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