Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cisco Releases Major Update to Plug-in for Sametime

Cisco released a major update in December to their integration with Sametime, which they are now calling CUCI-IBM.  The plug-in is a great step forward over previous integration options, and includes:
  • streamlined UI
  • integrated softphone
  • video calls
  • call history
  • call forwarding, and much more.
You can read a more in-depth overview of the plug-in and see several screenshots of it in the posting I made on the CDW Solutions blog.

One integration point I didn't mention in the overview is that both phone status and phone control options carry over into the Sametime meeting experience.  This makes it easy to quickly dial someone you've just brought into an instant meeting, or start a conference call with all of the meeting participants.

With CUCI-IBM, Cisco has closed some of the feature gap between its plug-ins and IBM's SUT solution.  I've compared the two in the past, so let's examine where things stand with Cisco's latest release.
  • In the past, SUT had the advantage over Cisco's plug-ins because of SUT's built-in softphone.  As I mentioned above, the latest CUCI-IBM plug-in includes a built-in softphone, erasing SUT's past advantage in this regard.
  • Conference call usability has improved significantly, including support for drag and drop addition of callers.  However, I'd still have to give the nod to SUT over CUCI-IBM on overall usability.  Even with drag and drop, adding users is a multi-step process involving selecting number to call, connecting, and joining users to the call.  Further, CUCI-IBM does not include conference call controls for the moderator nor current speaker indications available from SUT.
  • CUCI-IBM now includes call history as well as call forwarding.
  • CUCI-IBM now includes the ability to do SIP video calls.
It is important to note that where past plug-ins from Cisco have been free assuming you had licensed the backend Cisco systems, that is not necessarily the case with CUCI-IBM.  Be sure to identify what licensing costs may apply when evaluating CUCI-IBM for your organization.

There are some areas where SUT continues to have advantages.  These include:
  • in-call device switching (call forwarding in CUCI-IBM comes close though)
  • rule-based call routing
  • custom phone book
  • mobile integration
  • SSO (There are some customers where this is a huge issue.)
  • multi-vendor pbx support
So if any of the above are critical features for your organization, you should continue to look to SUT.  But if you've been holding off on integrating your Cisco telephony environment with your Notes or Sametime environment because of feature limitations of past plug-ins from Cisco, you should really re-evaluate that decision.  These UC features provide significant benefits to end-users.  If you don't find a way to bring them to your Notes users, your organization may not think such UC integration isn't possible with Notes.  And your organization wouldn't be the first to look to migrate to another platform because of incomplete information about what is possible.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Phil

    Does Cisco still support CUCI-IBM plugin ? has this been discontinued by CISCO ? I saw post where they say it's reached END OF Life . if so is there any other offering that using Jabber Client for voice mail ? or any other option to integrate with Sametime