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Cisco has redesigned a version of the unified communications client it inherited through its acquisition of BroadSoft to resemble Webex Teams. It's part of Cisco's multi-year initiative to streamline its overlapping portfolio of messaging apps.
In addition to the cosmetic changes, Cisco integrated the app, UC-One SaaS, with the cloud engine that powers messaging in Webex Teams to enable more advanced collaboration features, such as team messaging, drag-and-drop file-sharing and universal search.
The overhaul brings UC-One SaaS -- an offering targeted at small business with no more than 250 employees -- more in line with the market's trend toward team-based collaboration in the style of apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.
The changes will also allow for federated messaging between UC-One SaaS and Cisco's two other UC apps, cloud-based Webex Teams and the Jabber client. In late 2018, Cisco similarly updated Jabber to mimic the aesthetics and features of Webex Teams.
Cisco pushes partners to adopt UC-One SaaS
UC-One SaaS is a version of UC-One hosted in Webex data centers but branded by the service providers that sell BroadSoft-powered cloud calling plans. Because it carries the service provider's brand, businesses may not realize they are using a Cisco app.
After its 2018 acquisition of BroadSoft -- whose technology powered most of the cloud calling seats in the world at the time, largely among small businesses -- Cisco began encouraging service providers to deliver UC-One from the Webex cloud.
Some service providers still host UC-One in their data centers, but Cisco has given them until 2022 to adopt the SaaS model, through which Cisco manages the UC app and service providers manage the calling infrastructure.
"The additional capabilities launched by Cisco … are all aimed at improving the service provider experience and accelerating time to market with new Cisco-based offerings," said Elka Popova, analyst at Frost & Sullivan, a business consulting firm.
In the future, Cisco plans to integrate UC-One SaaS with the cloud engine that powers Webex Meetings, its video conferencing service.
Cisco brings Webex Calling to cloud contact center
In other Cisco news, the vendor delivered several enhancements to Webex Contact Center, another product inherited through its $1.9 billion BroadSoft buy.
The offering, previously called Customer Journey Platform, now integrates with Webex Calling, a cloud-based service based on BroadSoft technology. That setup will keep calls within the Webex cloud, potentially reducing latency, jitter and the frequency of dropped calls -- problems that can arise when calls are routed between a contact center and a separate calling service.
Webex Contact Center now supports up to 3,000 agents per cloud tenant, up from 300. The company plans to expand that capacity further to meet the growing demand for cloud services from midsized businesses and enterprises.
Other enhancements include an improved interactive voice response (IVR) system and the ability to manage Webex Contact Center from the same control hub used to oversee Webex Meetings and Webex Teams.