Speakers at Cisco Live Stress Smartphone-based Collaboration
Without using the specific term “Fixed Mobile Convergence”, executives from Cisco used the Cisco Live (formerly “Networkers!”) conference to describe a pivotal role for smartphones. They can already say “there’s an app for that” to iPhone owners who want to tap into WebEx-based conferences. But, according to the Software Group’s SVP Don Proctor the company is poised to launch many more “interfaces for collaboration” that incorporate voice, text messaging, RSS, graphics and video.
Proctor talked things through with Chris Chamberlain, a director of product management in Cisco’s Unified Computing Group, in order to provide a preview of products, features and services that the IP giant will introduce for smartphones in the second half of 2010. Among the building blocks that will transform smartphones into platforms for collaboration start with “presence information” which can be used intelligently to support near real-time communications. In this case, if the network knows that a colleague is “away” or otherwise unavailable, it will deliver Instant Messages as SMS-text.
There are many more examples automated media conversion to make sure that messages will get through. One is the rendering voice messages as email. Another is a service that detects graphics when they are embedded in an RSS feed and launches the WebEx client so that they can be displayed on a mobile device. Future network features are also designed to support communications continuity. For example, WebEx connectivity can be tweaked to detect when wireless users have their connections interrupted and can “anchor” the session so that it begins when they left off when the connection is re-established.
There are also a few nice-to-have features designed to impress corporate road warriors. For instance, when employees with smartphones arrive at a remote office, they can view a map of the building that displays their locations and also shows available meeting rooms. Once in one of those rooms, remote employees can use the smartphone to control such resources as IP desk phones and video screens. When and if they decide to leave the room they can be disconnected from the room’s desk phone and screen but remain in the conference, continuing their meetings through their smartphones.
That’s the vision, and it’s never to early to start showcasing the features to prospective corporate users.